I Hope that you had a wonderful Independence celebration, however you celebrated.
I took the liberty to discovery how hose in different countries celebrate this day and their independence. Certain parts of this research intriged me and I share them with you.
I first began by looking at the United States and then later discussed two other countries and the significant of their " Independence Day".
Every 4th of July in The United States of America there are Red, White and Blue celebrations of Independence Day. The celebrations consist of parties with food (lots of food), music, parades, fireworks and candy. After all, this is the day the US celebrates the Birth of America's Declaration of Independence. "ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL WITH HUMAN RIGHT given by GOD." (Women and other cultures not necessarily included). This year I joined a parade as a governmental official and waved at the crowd of people on the sides dressed in thier American Flag colors. I asked several people what the colors meant and they had no idea. They did say "Happy independence day!" as the participants threw candy to the children who quickly indulged. I wondered if they knew what they were there for.
I could not help but intensely contrast the different nationalities and cultures represented. I wanted to get closer to them. I wanted to see what their faces conveyed about this celebration of independence. Did they feel free or was it just a day off from the norm? I wondered, if you are from a place where you still feel oppressed can you celebrate fully or is this just "What you do because everyone else does it?"
In my conversations and from knowledge, I noted that several U.S. subcultures plainly do not participate in this 4th of July Independence celebration or if they do participate, they are not actually celebrating the same independence that others are lining up to celebrate. For instance, many African Americans do not celebrate the 4th of the "Lie" as it is sometimes described. The reason is that they feel as if they are not free and further, this independence celebration, when started, never included them and was not for their benefit.
So what do they celebrate: some African Americans celebrate the date that they were actually freed from slavery. Juneteenth is the name of the celebration and it happens on June 19th, every year. This day is also known as Freedom Day, and commemorates the date of June 19, 1865, in which there was an announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas. The emancipation of enslaved African-Americans throughout the former Confederacy of the southern states was really something to celebrate and culturally people find it important to separate and remember that at the time of The Declaration of Independence they were not free.
So this made me think, huuuummmmm. Do Native Americans celebrate the 4th of July? I have found, not surprisingly that some do and some do not. As I looked closer at this freedom issue for Native Americans it is extremely complex. There are some natives who wish to totally assimilate into the melting pot mentality of the US culture. I understand that, who wants to be an outsider, especially with fireworks and fun all around? Some Natives, however, use the day to celebrate their own achievements and achievements they have been.
For instance, one of the hardest ideas for me to grasp is that Native Americans tried so hard to help America in its own way and maintain autonomy and were unable to because laws were put in place that said they have to become part of the culture. Native Americans, during the time of Independence were still subject to Religions Crime Codes. These were regulations which came from the United States Department of Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, which prohibited American Indians from practicing any sort of ceremonial life. Indian agents then had to end tribal dances and feasts. Their hair was cut; they were made to speak English and children taken from families that would not comply (sounds familiar). Their religions practices, education, religion and life were somewhat destroyed. To make sure that there could be no autonomy in the practice; sacred objects were confiscated and destroyed. An interesting fact is that they could be imprisoned for the Sun Dance or Ghost Dance
Africa, with the exception of one country was completely colonialized by the main Western Nations. There was a land grab with little concern for neither people nor history. Beastly. On March 6th, Ghana, like many African countries celebrates its independence with dancing and costumes of bright colors in red, yellow, and green accessories. Like other African nations which followed, Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country to gain independence from the British colonial a rule. The problems after the rape of the land have never subsided and the British and other Western nations have never allowed them to live it down. Still Africa, including Ghana, press to thrive. Now, Africa is being honed as the next economic place for 2020. The youth are gearing up and the city of Accra for its Independence is filled with beach parties, street parties and tons of dancing to the African drum.
India celebrates independence from British colonial rule on August 15th with the raising of the Indian flag in Delhi. The Indian flag and the eye of the tiger! Indians (not to be confused with Native Americans) fly Kites, which are a national symbol of freedom across the country.
There are so many wonderfully interesting places that can be explored, but our need to recognize a day of freedom appears to be universal. Independence for may be celebrated even with those continuing abuses, but the thought that better day will arise on the horizon is the real song playing in their heads. "Freedom come and me wanna go home."