Independence day is a popular celebration in many countries. Usually, the holiday commemorates the date on which the country threw off an occupier and declared a new and free nation. Independence day is celebrated with a variety of festivities, traditions and customs, depending on the country you are in.
In the United States, Independence day is 4 July each year, and is usually celebrated with fireworks. Public and private displays are common, although many areas now ban at least some private fireworks due to fire hazards. Parades and picnics are also popular ways to celebrate an American Independence Day. The actual date memorializes the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which announced America’s intention to secede from British rule.
On 15 August, India celebrates its independence from British occupation and the birth of its sovereignty in 1947. The day is an official national holiday, and is celebrated by displaying the flag of the country and flying kites. The day is a time for families and friends to gather for an afternoon feast and to remember the difficult but worthy beginnings of the nation.
In Israel, the celebration of their independence is held on the fifth day of the Jewish lunar month called Iyar, which usually falls sometime at the end of April or beginning of May. Called Yom Ha'atzmaut, the celebration commemorates the declaration of freedom by Prime Minister Ben-Gurion on 14 May 1948. People celebrate with barbecues and family dinners, and there is often outdoor dancing and fireworks. This independence day is far from universally celebrated however, with some Arab citizens of Israel and Palestine holding protests and mourning on the same day. Jews in the diaspora, however, often celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut as well.
In the Middle Eastern country of Qatar, Independence Day is a three day long party. Preparations begin weeks before 1 September, when most of the official celebrations are held. The government holds an annual air show, and people travel from all over the country to bless the Amir, one of the leaders of Qatar. Most places do not work for three days to allow people to dance, celebrate and feast together.
Independence day is important in many countries, for its symbolism and nationalistic values. In most places it is a time to remember the often difficult struggle that gave birth to their modern country. While a few countries add religious meaning to their holiday as well, in many places it is a secular celebration that the entire nation can participate in together. Whether picnicking, dancing in the streets of Qatar, or lying on the high school field to watch the fireworks, the celebration of independence day is a reminder of the enduring love of humans for freedom and self-destiny.