Happy Independence Day, America!
If you’re a non-American like me who have migrated here for whatever reasons you have, then this is for you.
I remember my first 4th of July. It was a culture shock for me. I do know the essence of the celebration, but as an immigrant, I always feel like tiptoeing on whether or not I can join in the holiday celebration or back off. Like any newcomer, I was oblivious to the firework displays. I am wondering why they use more fireworks on 4th of July compared to when they’re celebrating New Year’s eve, and what’s with all the grilling, hotdogs and hamburgers? I also thought of whether or not I can chime in and cook some specialties back home, but it does feel a bit off.
But first, what is the 4th of July:
July 4th, 1776, marks the adoption made by the Continental Congress adopting the Declaration of Independence. It happened after two days of voting whether or not America should be separated from the United Kingdom.
The said Declaration of Independence was drafted by former POTUS, Thomas Jefferson who also died on the 4th of July. The Founding Fathers of USA signed the said document on the 1700s, but it was only after 1870 that it was declared as on official holiday and year 1941 marks the particular date as a paid federal holiday.
Now, that you’re aware of the date’s historical significance, how can we, non-Americans partake in such event that carried history, politics, society, and culture?
Here’s how you can do it:
I think this is a very crucial step just so we have an idea what, why, and how 4th of July came to fruition. The fact that you’re reading this article is a sign that you want to get it right or participate in the said event without offending anyone.
So yes, do what you must to be informed. The abundant knowledge is within your fingertips. Research, research, and research is the key. This does not mean you have to read all scholar articles (although you are welcome anyway). Wikipedia is always a great way to start.
Yes to the Grilling, Picnic, and Hotdogs
Probably the best part of it all. As a foodie and a fan of family get-together, this will be my most favorite part of the celebration.
So going back and maybe you’re also wondering, what’s with all those hotdogs?
This favorite and 4th of July staple gained its momentum during the late 19th century. Fun fact, Americans consumed 150 million hotdogs just last year on the 4th of July. In total, the American people spent at least $3 Billion in hotdogs alone on that day, according to this HYPERLINK “http://www.hot-dog.org/media/consumption-stats” consensus.
See the fireworks in your area
If you are a fan of grand spectacle, which I only tried once, you can feast over the fireworks display. As much as I appreciate the pyro effects and how these glitters on the sky will somehow find its magic to your eyes, I am not that big with the noise, and also I have to calm down our dogs and make necessary precautions that they do not go psycho once the display starts.
According to HYPERLINK “https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/04/us/us-independence-day-for-non-americans-trnd/index.html” CNN, “Fireworks were brought to the United States initially by Italian immigrants who settled here in the late 19th century. Now, America consumes fireworks in massive quantities in honor of this holiday, importing over 250 million pounds of consumer-brand and display fireworks in 2017, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. But fireworks have a much deeper history here than you may think. Our history of making things go “boom” in celebration dates to 1777, a year after independence was declared. That year, a Philadelphia celebration included 13 fireworks set off on the Commons in honor of the 13 colonies.”
Watch Local TV: Political Speeches
If you are a couch potato, of course, there’s still something for you if you’d rather stay at home. If you are a fan of the political situation (although I am guessing you are not), you can watch the local channel and knock yourself up of political speeches or if you want to go subtle, watch documentaries taking you back to the roots of 4th of July.
Meanwhile, as I am writing this article, I am currently sitting in the backseat of our pick up truck, going to the south part of the Bay area. Our family planned to go on camping this year to celebrate the American Independence day since it’s a long weekend holiday. Needless to say, as a Filipino, you already know how we will celebrate the 4th of July. You bet, this won’t be going to be usual camping. Do you want to guess what food we brought with us to feast on for three days? (I will cover an article for our camp this year, stay tuned!)
No matter what you do, remember to enjoy and be informed!