Fireworks. Red, white and blue everything. The sweet and smoky smell of barbecue. That’s Independence Day—if you’re an American. The U.S.A. has its patriotic traditions, but what does Independence Day look like around the world? For one thing, Independence Days fall in every season, and every country has its own traditions. We picked seven corners of the globe and explored what independence looks like to each.
Canada, July 1st
The Essentials: Red and white swag; picnic blankets; your best parade attire.
How to Celebrate: There isn’t one right way to celebrate Canada Day. Head to one of the many parades or carnivals, have a picnic, watch fireworks, catch the air show by Canada‘s Snowbirds (military planes demonstrating aerobatics), or hear some free musical acts. Ottawa, Canada’s capital, has the most impressive and extensive lineup of events, but any Canadian city is fair game on Canada Day.
U.S.A., July 4th (top image)
The Essentials: Burgers; hot dogs; picnic and BBQ gear; red, white & blue swag.
How to Celebrate: Fireworks go without saying as a must for America’s independence celebration. San Francisco‘s at Pier 39, Chicago‘s at Navy Pier, and the fireworks spectacular at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. are all quintessential shows.
France, July 14th
The Essentials: More red, white, and blue (but leave the stars at home); dancing shoes.
How to Celebrate: In France, it’s Bastille Day, not “Independence Day.” And, yes, there will be some out-of-this-world fireworks in Paris, set to the backdrop of none other than la tour Eiffel. But for a true celebration of the nation, after-party with Parisian firefighters at the Fireman’s Ball, 9 p.m. ’til 4 a.m. on the 13th and 14th at the local firehouses.
India, August 15th
The Essentials: A kite; the Indian flag (to hoist); the eye of the tiger.
How to Celebrate: The prime minister will raise the Indian flag and give a speech at the Red Fort in Delhi. Then, the people will take to open air to fly kites—a symbol of freedom. It can get competitive, with adults trying to knock other adult’s kites out of the sky, so you’ll have to keep an eye out and have quick reflexes to keep that freedom afloat.
South Korea, August 15th
The Essentials: A South Korean flag; your singing voice; friends in prison.
How to Celebrate: First, learn a new word: Gwangbokjeol (literally “Restoration of Light Day”) is the name of the South Korean independence day. While India celebrates its freedom with kites, this country takes a different approach: giving out special prison pardons. There’s also an official ceremony in Cheonan, at the Independence Hall of Korea, where the president speaks, and all join in on the Gwangbokjeol song.
Indonesia, August 17th
The Essentials: A few tall trees; the will to win; a good grip.
How to Celebrate: On Indonesia‘s independence day, it’s all about the panjat pinang. This game requires a tall nut tree, buckets of prizes, and a lot of oil. The trees are positioned vertically, with prizes at the top, and oiled up. Then, young men work together, using each other’s bodies as step stools, to clamber to the top to grab one of the goodies.
Australia, January 26th
The Essentials: Barbecued eats; beach gear; Aussie flag swag.
How to Celebrate: Australia Day falls in the Australian summer months, which means there will definitely be many barbies on the beach. Melbourne hosts a giant day-long celebration, which includes the People’s March, a multicultural flood of Australians who show the country’s diversity.
Ghana, March 6th
The Essentials: Beach attire; dancing shoes; red, yellow, and green swag.
How to Celebrate: Ghana does independence big. The celebration consists of official an official independence day parade in Accra, along with unofficial street parties, beach parties, and a whole lot of dancing (a fusion of hip-hop and traditional West African).