Other Great Independence Days, Celebrations, and Traditions Around the World
While Independence Day is one of our favorite and most-celebrated holidays, it can be easy to forget the simple fact that our Fourth of July is an entirely American holiday. Nevertheless, many other countries celebrate their own celebrations of independence, and they’re all worth learning about. Nevertheless, here are some particularly interesting independence days celebrated in other parts of the world.
August 15: India’s Independence Day
While England officially held governance over India for nearly 100 years during the 19th and 20th centuries, its unofficial rule dated many years before that. Thanks in part to the help of Mahatma Gandhi, India finally regained its independence in 1947.
In recognition of this day, the people of India recognize their country’s independence every August 15. To celebrate, Indians spend the day with their families and make sure to fly their country’s colors of saffron, white, and green. Kite flying is also a popular activity to partake in on this day, and it’s not unusual to see the sky blotted with these symbols of freedom. It’s worth noting that of the three national holidays in India, one celebrates Gandhi’s birthday in October.
September 16: Mexico’s Cry of Dolores
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not the day in which Mexico celebrates independence – that day, rather, celebrates the anniversary of a hard-won battle against France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. On September 16 of each year, Mexico celebrates its independence day, which is called the Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores. On this day in 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave a speech that incited a ten-year war against the Spanish-controlled government. Interestingly, for being the most famous speech in Mexican history, it was never recorded.
To celebrate their country’s independence, the president of Mexico rings a bell in the country’s capital and gives a speech inspired by the Cry of Dolores. The rest of the day is celebrated with national anthems, parades, and concerts – similar to our festivities on Independence Day.
December 6: Finland’s Independence Day
Finland’s history is complex – the country served as a battleground for battles between Russia and Sweden, and it was even ruled by both of these countries at one time or another. But, in 1917, after a hundred years under Russian rule, Finland gained its own independence.
Every December 6, the Finnish people commemorate this day, and while it’s a day worth celebrating, the day is observed a little more solemnly than other countries view their independence days. On this day, Finnish people raise their flags and place two candles in their windows at night. Legend has it that this tradition dates back to Russian rule and was a sign of the Finns’ protest against their rulers.
Learning about another nation’s independence teaches you much about its history and culture. While there’s plenty for us to celebrate every 4th of July, we can learn a lot by looking at the similar independence days of the countries we share this world with, whether you choose to partake in the celebrations or not.