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When the World Celebrates Independence Days

Americans celebrate 4th of July Independence Day with fireworks, barbecues, parades, and concerts, decorating everything in red, white and blue. The holiday marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, and signifies the hard won freedom that makes quintessential America. Likewise, patriotic traditions around the world indicate significant spirits of different countries, with intriguing historic stories behind.

Canada Day, July 1st

Canadians use red and white maple-leaf flag colors to decorate parades, carnivals, picnics, while fireworks and Snowbirds (military planes demonstrating aerobatics) highlight celebratory acts.

France, July 14th Bastille Day France commemorates July 14th the Bastille Day when, in 1789, Parisians broke into the Bastille fortress to release prisoners and catalyzed the French Revolution that ended the country’s tyrannical oppression. A military parade on the Champs Elysees starts the celebration of this significant holiday; fireworks over the Eiffel Tower are also lined up with parties, galas and good times.

Indonesia, August 17th

Indonesia proclaimed its independence in 1945 and fought for its freedom with the Netherlands until 1949. Panjat pinang is the celebratory game that demonstrates Indonesian determination. During this game, oiled-up tall nut trees carry buckets of prizes at the top, and young men work together, using each other’s bodies as step stools, to clamber to the top to retrieve the prizes.

Cambodia, November 9

In 1887, Cambodia was made part of the unified colony of French Indochina, until World War II, when the country fell under Japanese control. It was returned to France after the war, and then finally gained its independence on November 9, 1953. Cambodians celebrate their freedom with parades, cultural events and fireworks.

India, August 15th East Indians celebrate the ending of 200 years of British colonial rule in 1947 by flying kites that carry images of the Indian flag.

South Korea, August 15th Gwangbokjeol (literally “Restoration of Light Day”) is the name of the South Korean independence day. On this day, special prison pardons are given to commemorate the freedom spirit.

South Africa, April 27

South Africa declared its independence from Britain on May 31, 1910, and celebrates April 27th as "Freedom Day." On April 27, 1994, the first democratic, non-racial elections were held and Nelson Mandela was voted president. This day marks the end of colonialism and apartheid, and is celebrated with parties, inspirational speeches, and braais (barbecues).

Mexico, September 15 - 16

Mexicans take to the streets to memorialize the Grito de Dolores, the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence with Spain, won in 1810. From the 15th to the 16th, parades, food, concerts, and fireworks last for two days.

Peru, July 28 and 29

Peruvians toast to freedom with a classic national drink Pisco Sour. Cannon salutes and parades along with colorful costumes, drum beats commemorate the date when Jose de San Martin proclaimed Peru's independence from Spain in 1821. July 29 serves as a day to honor the Armed Forces and National Police.