July 4th Around the World

All over the United States, we celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, food, parades, and flags, all supplemented by local trends and traditions. In New York, fireworks will explode over the East River. In Washington, we’ll get a free concert on a Capitol Fourth. In Santa Fe, where I’m from, we’ll take over the town Plaza to eat pancakes. But what about Americans living overseas? For … Continue reading July 4th Around the World

What’s in a Flag?

On July 4, 1776, the United States declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (now called the United Kingdom). At the time, there were more than two dozen British colonies in North America, stretching from the Caribbean to the Canadian Arctic. Thirteen of these colonies rebelled: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, … Continue reading What’s in a Flag?

Five for Friday: Notable Independence Day Celebrations

Although the Fourth of July may feel like a very American celebration, it represents a very worldly ideal, independence.  All around the world, every month of the year, countries celebrate their sovereignty with flag-raising, parades, fireworks, and much more.  
The process of gaining independence, and its celebration, is broadly defined.  In various countries, such as the United States, Independence Day commemorates independent statehood gained over a former colonial power, such as Great Britain.  In other states, such as Slovenia, Independence Day acknowledges a state’s break from being part of another nation or state, such as Yugoslavia.  In rarer cases, Independence Day assumes the end of a military occupation, war, or another state’s control of a country’s foreign affairs.
Independence Day celebrations vary greatly in their celebrations, festivities, and traditions.  In our Five for Friday series, we explore some cool, quirky, and unusual independence day celebrations worldwide. 
1. Greece
March 25
Separation of church and state?  Not on Greek Independence Day!  Marking the start of the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821, March 25 is a double holiday, also celebrating the religious Feast of the Annunciation.  An unusually festive day, it is celebrated with festivals and parades while dressed in traditional Greek costumes, waving the customary white and blue of the Greek nation.
Traditional Greek changing of the guard in front of parliament, Athens.
Photo courtesy of Paul Freifeld, MyShot.

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Wednesday Word of the Week: patriotic

patriotic (pay-tree-AH-tihk) adj. supporting and celebrating a nation and its people (National Geographic Education).
As you celebrate July 4th today with families and friends, think for a moment, what exactly are you celebrating?  
Is it the United States‘ declaration of independence from Great Britain?
Is it the sacrifices made by our soldiers?
Is it the pride you feel by living in this country?
Or is it just a good excuse to barbeque?
Perhaps it is all of the above!  After all, July 4th is a patriotic event, celebrating all that defines a nation and its people.  In the United States, patriotism is expressed in various ways.  High flying flags, the national anthem, and national holidays all help to make the United States the most patriotic country in the world, according to the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC).
The United States is the “world’s most patriotic country,” according to a University of Chicago survey.
Photo courtesy of Joe Pratt Jr., MyShot.
The NORC survey, last administered in 2003, ranks countries on their citizens’ pride in living in their respective country, as well as how they view their state in relation to other countries throughout the world (as inferior or superior).  Tied atop the rankings is an often arch-rival of the United States on the international political scene, Venezuela.  Other countries rounding out the top ten: Australia, South Africa, Austria, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, The Philippines, and Israel.

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