Independence Day in America is celebrated similarly to how Christmas is in other parts of the world. If it’s one thing the USA does well, it’s built a sense of community around national holidays. It is the one day a year where anywhere you go, the smell of a fresh cut grass, sounds of fireworks popping, and fine, barbecued, cuisine follows you anywhere.
As an American, I’m accustomed to the strong sense of patriotism everyone expresses on this historic day. When I was young, I remember wanting to be a colonial woman for Halloween just because I loved learning about the Declaration of Independence.
I promise I was a sane kid, just loved a good history textbook.
Anyway, after I left America, I realized how unlikely that would happen anywhere else in the world. That sense of nationalism and passion towards America… stays in America. However, if you speak to a New Yorker, they probably won’t even refer to themselves as American. They might say something along the lines of, ‘I’m Italian-Irish’ or ‘well my grandmother’s from…’ and end up starting a thirty-minute conversation about how his/her ancestors travelled the Atlantic to achieve the ‘American Dream’. My point is that it’s the one place I’ve lived that truly lets you be whoever you want, that’s why Independence Day is so important to us.
I also believe that’s why, growing up in the states, celebrating the Fourth of July was a right of passage into American culture. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you look like, who you think you are because you’re always allowed to be American. Of course, there are those who’d rather not trumped by the American title but, it’s just a label after all. To be fair, whatever religion, ethnicity, or class you are, you can always dress/act how you’d like in America; even if it’s as a colonial woman.
Written by Lobster Contributor Natalia Szurawski