How Other Countries Celebrate Their Independence Days
We call the 4th of July America’s birthday and celebrate it with parades, picnics, backyard barbecues, concerts, and of course, fireworks. It’s the greatest opportunity to show pride in our nation and the freedom and liberty it represents.
While we celebrate our nation’s independence at this time, it’s interesting to find out about other countries’ independence origins as well. At Independence Bunting, we pride ourselves on learning about other cultures, both how unique they are but also the similarities.
We compiled this list to illustrate just some of the different ways countries around the world claimed and celebrate their independence day, show their national pride, and how independence is valued by everyone.How Our Neighbors Celebrate
We’re the only country that currently celebrates its independence day on July 4th, but our northern neighbor, Canada, celebrates their independence (Canada Day) just before us. On July 1st, 1867, the British North America Act was signed. This historic agreement united Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec and established Canada's federal government. Canadians celebrate much like we do with parades, concerts, ceremonies, and fireworks.
Our southern neighbor, Mexico, celebrates its independence day on September 16th, not on Cinco de Mayo, as some people in the U.S. mistakenly think. September 16th commemorates the day Mexico began its war of independence from Spain in 1810. At precisely 11 p.m. on September 15th, the president rings Mexico’s liberty bell and shouts, “Mexicanos, Viva México!” The crowd shouts back, “Viva México!” and everyone sings the national anthem. The next day there are rodeos, parades, bullfights, and traditional Mexican dancing.Other Fireworks Nations
It’s easy to think that fireworks would be a universal tool of celebration for independence parties, however, besides America and Canada, just France, Australia, and Ghana largely incorporate fireworks in the festivities. Though different from an independence day, China celebrates its national day with fireworks as well. In America, our tradition of using fireworks to celebrate the 4th can be traced back to John Adams, however, fireworks have been used in military displays for centuries.
France celebrates Bastille Day on July 14th in remembrance of the day Parisians stormed the Bastille prison, thus beginning the French Revolution in 1789. Along with fireworks, there are parades and festivals. It’s also customary for the president to pardon prisoners and for firefighters to organize dance parties. Europe’s largest and oldest military parade is held in France on Bastille Day.
In Australia, independence day is January 26th in honor of the first British ships arriving to settle Australia in 1788. The country’s largest celebration is Lottery West Skyworks in Perth where fireworks are launched from bridges, skyscrapers, and moving boats. Sydney holds races for tall ships, ferries, and surfers. Since the ‘80s, participation in Australia Day festivities has increased and become more unified. In 1994, for the first time since the holiday’s origin, all Australian states and territories have celebrated the holiday on the same day.
Ghana’s Independence day is March 6th. When it was still called the Gold Coast, Ghana won its liberation from Britain in 1957, making it the first sub-Saharan country to win independence. Fireworks, parades, and marches are the main forms of celebration. The ground-breaking leader Kwame Nkrumah is often credited as a key leader involved in securing Ghana’s independence. In his original speech in 1957, he stated:
“Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.”
Within the next decade, more than 30 African countries gained independence, likely due to inspiration from Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah, in particular.Middle Eastern & Asian Nations
Israel celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut (Day of Independence) on May 14, remembering the 1948 day when Israel declared its independence from British rule. The official celebration is held at Mount Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery in Jerusalem, the night before. The Speaker of the Israeli Parliament speaks, artists perform, and 12 torches are lit, one for each Tribe of Israel. Family picnics and barbecues are the main forms of celebration the next day.
India celebrates its 15th of August national holiday to commemorate its independence from British rule in 1947. Most are aware of the struggles surrounding India’s long-fought crusade for independence led by Mahatma Gandhi, but few know that the agreement was literally reached just after midnight. Needless to say, India cherishes their independence and celebrates accordingly with parades, flag-hoisting, patriotic songs, and kite-flying contests.
The Philippines has a complex history of colonization and independence. Their original independence day, June 12th, celebrated the defeat of the Spanish in 1898 and release of their rule during the Spanish-American War. Since the United States assisted in this defeat, the Philippines along with Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam were all relinquished by Spain to the United States under the Treaty of Paris of 1898. The Philippines was considered a territory, then a Commonwealth as of 1935, but still under U.S. sovereignty. After WWII, the Philippines finally became an independent nation on July 4th, 1946. While the U.S. and the Philippines shared the same July 4th date as their official independence day for some time, in 1962, Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal shifted their celebration of independence back to the June 12th date. July 4th was then considered Philippine Republic Day, until sometime during President Ferdinand Marcos’s reign (1965-1986), when it was referred to Philippine-American Friendship Day. Today, the Philippines still recognize their official independence day as June 12th, with parades, flag-raising ceremonies, and other festivities.
Those are just a few examples of the different countries’ independence day celebrations and histories.
However you plan to celebrate our own country’s birthday, Independence Bunting has everything you need for your 4th of July holiday and events: flags, banners, bows, and a variety of quality patriotic decor. Don’t forget, our products are proudly made in the USA!