Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Five Crazy Things: Celebrating Your Country

Deb: What are the top five things you like to do to celebrate your country’s birthday? As I write this, it is July 1st—CANADA DAY—and in three days it is Independence Day in the U.S. We would love to hear about any and all countries and your dates and traditions!

1.    Have our wee Canadian flags all around the property
2.    Family picnic around our pool!
3.    Take a moment to be grateful for living in freedom.
4.    Using all our vintage Canadian glasses and napkins.
5.    Eat drink and be happy that summer is here!!!!!!!!!!

1.    Despite the fact that this is a major community holiday, I LOVE just spending it with the family doing quiet "together" stuff, knowing it’s a holiday and no one will expect anything from us.
2.    Biking through the city!
3.    Fireworks (but in the last few years, mostly heard and not seen from our backyard—while Chaplin cowers).
4.    Gay Pride parade! Again, don’t often go anymore, but something about knowing it’s taking place not far from us and seeing the images on TV makes me feel proud and excited for a compassionate/accepting future that celebrates everyone.
5.    Improvised meals (we almost always forget that the grocery stores are closed and so we have to make stuff up. This year it was gourmet burgers and sweet potato fries for lunch at a most delicious b-b-q place in the middle of our 3-hour bike ride, then for dinner, a thrown-together bean salad with diced cucumbers, fresh mint, canned artichoke hearts, shaved lettuce, sliced sundried tomatoes, and a garlic-lemon dressing. Mmmmm).


  1. Oh... Love THIS!!! We dont celebrate country day MUCH anymore coz according to my mom, she's too old to celebrate stuff now..SHES 57!!?!?! Like I said you gotta be young at heart!(also considering whats going on in the country right now...TOTAL CHAOS!) Our Independence Day is 15th August. But I have different plans that day. I'm gonna tell ya my tradition. 15th August is THE DAY BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY! So I am busy...

    1. Inviting friends to come to a sweet little gathering at home the next day.

    2. Discussing the menu with my mom....normally its just casually stuff!

    3. Deciding what to do all day next day

    4. Going shopping !!

    5. And......GETTING EXCITED for my Birthday !!!!

    (Ha! My mom hates it. A lot of people think I'm too old to have birthday celebrations and getting presents.....But I love it so...SUE ME!)

    P.S. AND SPEAKING OF BIRTHDAYS....We are two days away from a Gorgeous young lady's birthday! and Three days away from ANOTHER gorgeous girl's Birthday!!!!! So, You girls got any plans??? Awww I wish I were there I'd throw a party for ya!!! I LOVE SURPRISING PEOPLE...LOL I'm more excited then they are!

    1. Shalaka one is never too old for Birthdays and prezzies. I even subscribe to the Alice in Wonderland "A very Merry Un-birthday!" We are doing lovely dinners with our husbands and lovely days to be unfolded as they happen. I will keep you posted!

    2. So done then..you are gonna throw my next *surprise* BIRTHDAY PARTY!! Dont worry I'll act surprised!

  2. 1. Visiting with family. Usually some of my mom's side of the family would come to our house for a cookout. But we're all old and grown now, so these don't happen as often anymore.

    2. My mom and dad are leaving tomorrow to visit my 90-year old Grandpa for a week. These really aren't traditions obviously....just what is going on this week since it is the 4th. lol

    3. Holly and I will be spending some time with a few friends of ours that are very very dear to us. We're crashing at their place tonight and hanging out tomorrow. Free swimming and fireworks tomorrow night! :D

    4. Everybody has the day off from work. One thing I love about 4th of July. Except once I start working for real :/

    5. I have to work now. Bye everybody!

    1. Yeah you're right Kelly. Best things about holidays is that-they are holidays!!!!

  3. This year very quiet. Every 4th year since 1976 our block has thrown a block party. This is one of those in between years. My girlfriend always has a party of 4th of July that I attend but this year after having it for 30 plus years she changed to Labor Day. So I had made no plans assuming my son and granddaughter would be here. But hand, foot and mouth disease prevented their visit. Oh well next year will be different.

  4. That bean salad looks really good, i'm going to make it for dinner tomorrow night!

    1. Australia Day is Jan 26th, and in Perth most people gather around the Swan River that runs through the city to watch a huge fireworks display. Hundreds of boats out on the water and thousands of people around the shore waving candles and flashlights. It looks really pretty.
    2. Everyone goes there early for a good position and sits in the 40 degree baking sun all day eating icecream and trying to keep hats on the kids and playing cricket
    3. Barbecue! The whole country barbecues but we're all vegetarian so ours isn't very traditional. We do lentil burgers and haloumi and salads and rice'n peas, and lots of desserts...
    4. The radio station plays an Australian music medley to go with the fireworks dislpay, with the only exception being 'Imagine' by John Lennon. They play it during the last few fireworks and it makes me cry every year.
    5. Appreciating a multicultural day! My family moved here in 1980 and between all the extended family there's Jamaica, Barbadian, English, Portugese, and Sri Lankan. Typical aussie family :)

    1. Wow...26th Jan is Our Republic Day! I didnt know it was Australia day!

    2. I am loving learning of the different days throughout the calendar year that countries celebrate!

  5. I too had a very quiet Canada Day. I did hang a Canadian flag outside my house and in my kitchen, but for the first time since October, I had the house to myself. It almost seemed like I had the City to myself too. Although it was a very busy weekend in Toronto with the Jazz Festival, the Pride parade, Fireworks, etc it was very hot and the part of the city that I live in was extremely quiet. I loved it!! I needle pointed, read a lot, puttered in my garden, rode everyday......last night I witnessed a lovely thing. My son and I went to an Italian restaurant on Yonge street (which was also very quiet) and during our meal a homeless man looked through the front window of the restaurant. The owner went in the kitchen and got him some soup and bread and gave it to him in a bag. It was such a nice thing to witness, most owners would shoo the man away for making his guests feel uncomfortable, but this man just saw he was hungry and helped. I am lucky to live here....

    1. Jo that is such a wonderful story. I love it. Actually I cheated. Canada Day for us was exactly as you described. Pool, eating, quiet, reading! The traditions I described happened at our home on the Monday with the whole family! Both days were lovely in really different ways but we did need that quiet day! Glad you enjoyed yours.

  6. This is difficult. I'm not sure really what I do to celebrate the U.S.'s birthday.
    1. Fireworks 9kind of a given, right?)
    2. Get the grill going and EAT!
    3. Events in town. We don't have a parade, but there are town events that take place on the 4th that I sometimes go to (if the temp. isn't too high, that is)
    4.Reading something that has something to do with U.S. history.
    5. Sleep. When I have a day to relax, I take it!!

  7. Over the years 4th of July plans are always changing, but fireworks are always involved!! :D I don't have to work tomorrow, though!!

  8. Congrulations with your special day!
    Here in Norway we celebrate on may the 17th, in memory og 1814 when we got our own constitution and seperated from Denmark. Here we traditionally do:
    1: Dress up in Bunad or other finery. (Bunad are clothes that represent each county, and are made of thick wollen fabric with embroideries) Sorry for misspelling :)
    2: We eat breakfast with our neighbours or out, often with champagne or snaps.
    3: We watch the childrens parade, with marchingbands and the nationalguard - who passes by the royal castle where the royalfamily waves from their balcony.
    4: We watch the Prime Ministers speech for the day.
    5: We celebrate with our friends and family and later watch the "Russetog" which is a parade of students who graduate high school.
    At least that's pretty standard way of celebrating here in Norway, with variations of course :)
    Love from Norway

    1. Wow Anette, these traditions sound amazing and so different from what we do. Sending love to Norway!

  9. 1. WATERMELON!!

    2. A fireworks display of some kind. I accidentally found one a couple of years ago as I was doing my 128 drive. A lot of cars were pulled over to the shoulder to watch them. That ended when the patrol car came by and honked us all off the shoulder. It was unexpected fun. I'm going to try to go early enough to be able to pull off the exit to watch them this year.

    3. Maybe try to grill hotdogs or something. I have a $20 grill that I use once a year or so. (I'm DAMN lazy.) I may spark it up and toast marshmallows, too. Yuuummmmmm!

    4. I wear red, white and blue.

    5. Listen to music by the Boston Pops, specifically the 1812 Overture. I went to the Boston fireworks ONCE (WAY too crowded), but it felt great to listen to the music while watching the fireworks live with all the booming and crackling right overhead. I've got to find a good place to watch them live. It is SO not the same watching them on tv.

    1. Dawn I love that you wear red white and blue. I had a little head scarf with maple leaves on it. Everyone usually shows up in red and white! Boston Pops 1812-Perfect!

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  11. Hmm...very interesting topic.
    Here in Germany, the national holiday is October 3rd. It's not the birthday of my country, it's the reunion (with the Eastern part of my country, the German Democratic Republic). It's quite young. First celebrated in 1989. I witnessed the reunion. Well, I was too young to remember much, but because I live near the former border, some people from the GDR came to our city, and my Dad, who is part of a relief organization (I don't know if that's the right word...), helped to bring them food and clothes...

    I never celebrated that day. Of course, you don't have to go to school or work, but we don't decorate the house with our flag. There are no fireworks (at least not in my city), no parades or events, nothing special.

    Maybe we would make a trip, go for a walk, or something like that, so I can't name five things I do.

    But I am glad that our country is whole again, and that people don't have to suffer anymore. It makes me sad that people were locked up, tortured, killed, and separated from their families and friends (the border literally went through houses).

    But I also think it is important to never forget our history. I don't know...many people from different countries make fun of our Nazi-Past. For me, it's ok to joke about Hitler, because he doesn't deserve being treated better.
    But what he has done, is not a joke. It's a nightmare. It makes me want to cry every time. I feel so sorry for all those people, who were murdered, because they were different.

    And it makes me so damn angry that there are still people, who think it's ok to treat gay people, sick and disabled people, black, jewish, muslim people like shit. But it's not ok.

    Sorry for that long comment...but that part of my/our history is really important to me (I've always read a lot about it, I watch documentaries, and I visited a concentration camp...).

    1. Becki I think it's wonderful that you guys celebrate a reunion. For some it must be fraught with a combination of joy and sorrow. I am sorry that you carry with you guilt around something you had no hand in. The German people cannot be all painted with the same brush. And in my world, they are not. I do remember the day the wall came down and I was glued to the television. It was a triumph of the human spirit and a very good day for this planet.

    2. Oh...and Happy belated Canada Day!

      I don't feel guilty...it just makes me sad, and it worries me that something like that could happen so easily, and no one could really stop it.

      I'm glad you know that we're just normal people like you are. :o) But some immediately think: German - Nazi.

      It was a good day. =)

  12. I don't really have a list, but basically we make a delicious meal and go to fireworks at night.
    (Also, sometimes we make it a little party by inviting over family)

  13. Love hearing of the different country traditioins!

    1. Parade with the fire company on the 4th
    2. Police set off Fireworks in the local park ...usually on the 2nd or 3rd
    3. Ummmm so fireworks are illegal in NJ so we certainly dont all go over the firehouse on the night of the 4th and the guys set off our own fireworks ...HeHe
    4. Picnics !!!
    5. Family ..usually all dressed in red white and blue : )

    1. Sounds like fun! The fireworks thing is different. I didn't know they were illegal in NJ. I guess it is legal if professionals are doing them but not individuals right?

    2. yeah you have to be a comapny that is hired to set them off for the town. Technically it is still illegal for the firefightes to set them off but the cops dont bother us as long as we seem to have things under control. Who better to play with fire, right?

  14. Oh dear compressing my Canada Day celebration into five points just wouldn't work! We do a big celebration every year, because of how close we live to one of the two big fireworks displays in Winnipeg it's the perfect place to get together and we have a big yard.
    We always start the day with a birthday breakfast and gifts for my youngest as she's a Canada day baby. After that we deck the yard out in red and white with flags and balloons and streamers eveywhere. The BBQ we have has become a potluck as so many people come and every surface gets covered in food and we spend hours chatting and eating and playing around.
    The kids have water fights, decorate paper flags and hats and cardboard signs to attach to the wagon for our walk to the park. Usually by this point all of the kids (and half the adults) are covered in temporary tattoos and face paint.
    We then have a birthday cake which has both how old Canada is turning and how old Anya is on it(145 and 8 this year). We then usually have about half of the people who came for the BBQ walk over to the park together pulling the aformentioned decorated garden wagon which carries chairs and blankets and sports equipment. We go about two hours before hand and play a game of soccer or football or really whatever anyone thinks of bringing along until we can no longer see the balls and watch the fireworks spread out on blankets. Then we make our way back to the house usually singing a rousing rendition of Oh Canada. We get back and while the kids run around with sparklers the adults help us with a bit of cleanup before saying goodnight.
    The next few days our family ends up continuing the clean up and eating nothing but leftovers for a week while trying to figure out which container belongs to who.
    It's chaotic, it's colourful, it's bright, it's active and probably our best party every year.

  15. Our independence day is 6th of Dec.

    1. I light a candle (well I burn lots of candles during the winter time anyway, so this is not really a change, but I try to pick a special candle from the store)

    2. I plow the snow, if there is any. Fine that is not a proper method of celebrating... I will wish happy independence day on social media that I am in.

    3. Prepare something special to eat + candy/ sometimes I might eat out, if I am spending the day with friends.

    4. Watch a movie if at home and watch our president shake hands with people for few hours if I am at friends place (where there is a TV). I have a TV, but you can't watch anything with it. Only DVD's. I haven't felt the need to get a digibox yet.

    5. This is mostly what others do. I haven't yet done this myself. People take candles to the graves and memorials of solders. (As a thank you for our independence and staying independent)

    I refuse to work on this day if I am living in another country. I did an exam once, but did not attend the school otherwise. Only trouble that I got was from a teacher who was from sweden :)) But as long as I am a citizen I will continue do this in the future as well.

    1. My last independence day wasn't quite like this, but there was food and I did use the social media. My loan car had broken and I had to wait for my brother in law to drop my own car to me. So the whole day was basically just waiting and finally about three hours driving.

  16. Oh MY GOODNESS Erin, THAT is celebrating Canada Day! I am humbled! Well done.

  17. Early in my first marriage, I, as an ignorant young American, decided that we'd spend some vacation time at Niagara Falls. Planned the weekend, drove out. NEVER knew that Canada Day was July 1st. That's the day we got there. The MASS of people EVERYWHERE. Wow. We didn't stay long. We visited a drive-through safari in Cambridge, in "Deepest darkest Ontario." We spent most of the 4th driving home. I was quite happy to get back into the USA while it was still July 4th. That was one weekend I'll never forget.

  18. Wow yeah ummmm, not the best time for Niagara Falls huh? You sure won't make that mistake again!

  19. This is rather a difficult one as the United Kingdom doesn't have a birthday, or national day of any description. There's a Saints days for each country but only St Patrick's and St Andrew's day are "holidays", and then only in the country they're the Saint of (ie. Northern Ireland and Scotland). I believe there might have been talk about introducing a new bank holiday for celebrating Britain, but there didn't seem to be much enthusiasm for it, and personally I think it would seem a little false. That said, if we were to have a national celebration of Britishness we could just all get into long queues and complain about things in the rain, it would be an incredibly British day out.

    However, England is divided in to counties and my home county celebrates its "national day" on the 1st August, Yorkshire day. Technically, Yorkshire is made up of 5 counties these days (North, South, East, West Yorkshire, and York), but traditionally it was divided into three ridings (a "riding" being a third): North, East and West, and there is sense of unity between the separate components and a set of stereotypes which draw us together (cloth caps, tight with money, dropping the "he" on "the", brass bands, and a dislike of people from Lancashire). But still, despite my pride in being a Yorkshire lass, the 1st of August passes like almost every other day. My dad might hang the Yorkshire flag (white rose in the middle of a blue flag) outside and we'll all feel a little prouder of our county for the day, but that hardly constitutes a great celebration.

    Bearing all of this in mind, I have decided to substitute "your country's birthday" with "day when your nation is celebrating something big", which for us this year would be the Queen's Diamond Jubilee (Royal wedding last year). So...

    1) Drink Tea, served from the teapot, pouring the milk in first and adding sugar afterwards (as opposed to the everyday, chuck it all in a mug and hope for the best approach)

    2) Watch whatever coverage the BBC are doing of the events (this year it was the Thames flotilla), while commenting that this is much better than actually being there because we can see what's going on properly and no one cares that we're in pyjamas

    3) Possibly go for a walk by the river Ouse in York (weather dependent).

    4) If it's also a bank holiday: avoid all the roads! Or just use the "It's bank holiday there'll be traffic everywhere" excuse as an reason to stay in and doss around.

    5) Generally pay little heed to event we're supposed to be celebrating. I think my family just have a tradition of ignoring national celebrations, or perhaps the British as a nation do, hence our lack of a national holiday, but I'm quite happy with that to be honest.

    Hope you enjoyed your Canada day celebrations though! I missed out on them when I was over there in 2008 because I was ill that day, gutted much.

  20. Usually, I go out to the river to shoot off fireworks with my best friend's family, but not this year. All of the counties in this region are under a burn ban because conditions are so dry. There are lots of fires.

    For this 4th of July, I will be at work from 10a-5p. Then, I'm supposed to go over for a cookout with friends.

    My son is at his father's for the week.

  21. belated happy Canada day .

    well i think you all know by now i am Irish . there are very few people in the world that don;t know about St Patrick's day . i agree with Suzy i pay no heed what so ever to it , i find that it can be more then a bit stereotypical . to a lot of Irish people it is just an extra day off work and a chance to spend longer in the pub . this is what i would tell visitors to this country to do:

    1: go and see a parade , every big town in Ireland will have one . the biggest of course will be in Dublin .
    2: drink a pint ( or more) of Guinness .
    3: eat some typically Irish cuisine
    4: if you are in Dublin Merrion Square closes and there is a huge fun fair . that is also near by the national gallery and natural history museum .
    5: make sure to wish people you meet happy St Patrick's day .

  22. Loved reading how all of you celebrate your country's special day -- but also really interested in a) whether there is a special day or not, and b) when that is. Thanks so much!


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