Everything about America is big: American holidays, American cars, burgers, and NFL players.
The biggest American holiday in summer is the 4th of July – U.S. Independence Day. It’s so big that there are two Hollywood films with the 4th of July as part of their theme.
Born on the Fourth of July, a 1989 anti-war drama made by Oliver Stone, starring Tom Cruise, and Independence Day, which is a science fiction alien attack film from 1996 by Roland Emmerich and starring Will Smith.
Time to tell you why it is so big.
4th of July – the History Behind the Day
On the 4th of July 1776, the USA (which consisted of 13 colonies back then) sought independence from Britain. The Continental Congress, made of representatives from what would become the first 13 states of the U.S., adopted a resolution of independence.
These states on the east coast stretched from New Hampshire and Massachusetts in the north, to the Carolinas and Georgia in the south.
On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was pronounced. It was written by Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. President, and one of the more prominent among the eight Founding Fathers of the nation.
In U.S. history, his place is right after George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Jefferson’s sculpted head is among the four adorning Mount Rushmore.
The war with the British continued for several years after 1776, ultimately ending with the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, followed by the Paris Peace Treaty in 1783.
Independence Day, also known as the 4th of July, has been a federal holiday in the U.S. since 1941. But, for long before that, it was associated with festivities and pageantry.
However, the 4th is not the day when Americans became independent, but rather resolved to pursue it. The 4th of July and the Declaration of Independence are seminal moments in the formation of the USA.
How Is It Celebrated?
Apart from armed forces, hospitals, and fire stations, the nation is more or less closed down. The 4th of July marks the height of summer vacation.
Summer vacation in the U.S. stretches from the end of May to the beginning of September. It is, for many, the perfect season for travel. The 4th of July is one more reason to enjoy the summer with family and friends – at the mall, or in the backyard.
Everywhere, municipal bodies and other institutions (such as huge stores like Macy’s) organize displays of extravagant fireworks. The event usually happens at around 8:00 P.M., after dinner.
The fireworks symbolize the war of independence. Unlike many other colonies which had a struggle for independence, Americans went to war, and they are proud of it.
You will find an Independence Day parade even in the smallest towns. Brass bands with polished French horns and cymbals are a spectacular sight. The marchers are in colorful costumes, with many wearing the traditional military uniforms of that era.
At the most poignant moment, the band will play Star Spangled Banner – the U.S. national anthem. You are expected to stand and sing along with the crowd.
Backyard barbeques are a common sight, though more so in the suburbs than in cities. If you have been in the U.S. for a few months, you will surely be invited to a barbeque by someone.
On offer are beer, grilled chicken, hotdogs, and various forms of skewered meat. You are expected to be jolly and indulge in light conversation. Americans love to banter about baseball and NASCAR (in July, the NFL is still a bit away). The NBA is also a very popular topic of conversation.
You have to loosen up and enjoy yourself. Being glum is positively off the table. Note that boisterous parties with too much alcohol in warm afternoons can result in rude arguments, so tread carefully.
4. Spending Time at the Beach
The coasts are dotted by small beaches, especially in Florida and California. On the 4th of July, American beaches are crowded, and there are events from parades to rock concerts. Many beaches attract tourists with fireworks over the ocean.
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Due to the crowd, it’s hard to find a spot to unwind on the sand.
Unless you were a diehard beachgoer back home, you should probably give this experience a miss.
On a slightly different note, you have to be careful about your well-being. Flaming grills, fireworks, a lot of and alcohol sounds like the perfect recipe for an accident. Of course, heaven forbid that anything should happen to you, but accidents can and do occur.
Medical attention in the U.S. is expensive and you must be insured. Visitors insurance is an inexpensive way to protect yourself and your finances. At Insubuy you can find numerous visitors insurance policies at nominal costs that can assist with unexpected medical bills. Compare and buy the one you feel is perfect for you.
What to avoid?
- The roads leading out of town are choked with traffic on this day. If you are leaving a big city, it’s best to leave by the 3rd of July, midday.
- The same goes for airports. They are packed on the evening prior to the 4th of July. Be cautious about drunk drivers causing an accident.
- The hospitals operate with a skeleton staff. If you have any chronic problem, seek help by the 3rd.
- It’s red, white, and blue everywhere – from flags to costumes to tableware. Be diplomatic if you are getting a little overwhelmed.
Can I Refuse an Invite?
The U.S. is an overwhelmingly patriotic nation. On this day, patriotic fervor reaches its peak. Whatever you do as a newcomer, do not interrupt this zeal.
Instead of outright avoiding, try to drop in for a while if you are able. It is crucial that you learn to connect with the American people on this day. No matter if they are blue or red (as far as political affiliations are concerned), all of them are together on this day. Be nice, and enjoy all the food and drink placed before you.
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