Dear friends, I hope you are enjoying a nice breeze on a warm day. I’m anxiously awaiting the heavens to be illuminated in celebrations tomorrow!
My friends know that I spend a lot of time in the United States. I love the country for its great expanse, beautiful variety and friendly people. My favourite time to be in America is undoubtedly during Independence Day on the Fourth of July. Everyone in the country celebrates on the Fourth of July! This holiday is a time when Americans are especially welcoming to visitors and encourage everyone to feel a part of the fun.
Every city and town has its own way of celebrating, and all are exciting in their own unique ways, but there is some commonality that lends familiarity and charm to every celebration.
America has a long tradition of being a melting pot of different cultures. Each culture brings its own foods, holidays and traditions but on Independence Day all celebrate freedom in a display of civic joy that is special in its extent and grandeur. So, if you’re a visitor, embrace the feeling of freedom and comradery that is at the core of this national celebration.
The day typically starts with time in the park, on a beach or in someone’s yard. While Thanksgiving is a family celebration, Independence Day is especially a time to relax with friends. Depending on the location, gatherings can involve picnics, music, games, water sports and just milling about with friends. The most important task of the day is to have fun, laugh and hug your friends and family!
By the afternoon, it is time for some liquid refreshment. That can be ice-cold lemonade, iced tea, sodas or something more alcoholic. My favourite Fourth of July tipple is a mix of frozen margarita with sangria – if you garnish it with a blueberry, it can be very patriotic with its red, white and blue colours! Of course, beer and wine are consumed in vast quantities on Independence Day but there are a myriad of alternatives. Just ensure that you drink plenty of water to stave off dehydration in the hot July sun.
The afternoon is for grilling and barbecue. Each region has its own flavour and style ranging from the dry-rub Kansas City style, to the hearty Texas barbecue and the hot Louisiana grills. Beef, pork, chicken, fish, seafood, hot dogs and even vegetables are all grilled to exquisite perfection on this holiday. New York City even has the Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest which is a spectacle of grilled over-indulgence. Independence Day is a celebration of mankind’s command over fire!
Speaking of fire, the most anticipated events of the day are the spectacular fireworks displays. There are huge events in big cities like New York, Chicago, Washington DC and Nashville that are meant to celebrate patriotism with music orchestrated spectaculars. However, nearly every town across America has its own event even if it is modest compared to the bigger cities. A few states, like Texas, even allow private fireworks displays that turn backyards into theatres of night-time excitement.
After the explosions of light, colour and sound, the small children are ushered to bed and the adults proceed with the late evening parties. There is often drinking, dancing, laughing and more than a little romance in the air!
Here’s a pro-tip: The Fourth of July is on Thursday this year, which means most workers will be taking off on Friday, 5 July. Don’t expect many businesses to be open on Friday as workers take advantage of the long weekend. None the less, it is a great time to shop with the holiday sales!
My two favourite days to be in the United States are Thanksgiving and Independence Day, but the Fourth of July is my very favourite because the weather is almost always perfect and the entire country wears a friendly smile!