What Does Independence Day Look Like Around the World?
July 3, 2019
By Erica Hayton

When you think about Independence Day in the U.S., you probably think of fireworks (although hot dogs might be a close second). No matter where in the States you’re located, the 4th of July usually means pool parties, barbeques, parades, and concerts. 

This Independence Day, we’re looking around the world to see how other countries celebrate. Here are some of the coolest and most creative we found. 

1. Indonesia 

Indonesia’s independence day, known as “Hari Kemerdekaan,” occurs on August 17th. Celebrations begin with a national flag hoisting ceremony where the Indonesian President and other leaders gather at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta. 

In the afternoons, Indonesians play games, have eating competitions, and hold competitions. The most interesting of all is panjat pinang, where competitors try to reach prizes by climbing to the top of a tall greased pole. 

2. France

France’s day of independence, Bastille Day or la Fête nationale, celebrates the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. Celebrations in Paris are pretty similar to 4th of July celebrations in the U.S. The day begins with a military parade down the Champs-Élysées––the oldest and largest military parade in Europe––and ends with a spectacular firework show behind the Eiffel Tower.

But you don’t have to travel to Paris to celebrate Bastille Day. In fact, France’s independence is celebrated pretty heavily around the world. Some U.S. cities with large French populations, such as New Orleans, will host celebrations of their own.

3. India  

Like the U.S., Indonesia and France, India celebrates its independence with parades and fireworks, but they also showcase their freedom by flying kites. On August 15th of each year, the New Delhi sky is full of orange, green and white kites. 

Kite flying has a deeper message for India’s independence. The tradition dates back to 1927 when freedom fighters flew kites with special messages written on them to protest British rule. 

4. Mexico 

Many Americans might be surprised to learn that Mexico’s independence day actually has nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo. In fact, Mexico celebrates its independence day by recognizing El Grito de Dolores––the event that sparked the Mexican War of Independence––on September 16th. 

Celebrations begin the night of the 15th when Mexicans wear the colors of their flag––red, white and green––while dancing, eating traditional food, and watching fireworks. You’ll most likely hear shouts of “¡Viva México!” coming from celebrating crowds.

5. Australia

If you’ve ever attended an Australia Day celebration, you might have felt right at home––if you weren’t on the other side of the world or celebrating in the middle of January. Just like the U.S., Australia celebrates its independence with a barbeque and a day at the beach. 

Australian independence day occurs on January 26th, which is actually summer Down Under. Australians typically celebrate by watching boat races, as well as fireworks, outdoor concerts and festivals.  

Regardless of where you’re from (or where you’re traveling to), Independence Day is an exciting celebration of a culture’s traditions and history. With flashy fireworks, great food, and music you can dance to, you can’t go wrong.