Summertime is finally here.
As the weather warms up, our sleeves roll up in preparation for another legendary 4th of July celebration.
Before we get into all that makes the 4th of July the fun and lively day that it is for our fellow Americans and international friends, I encourage you to recall why this day is so important in our country’s history.
Here are a few facts about the 4th of July that you can virtually share with your exchange student who has gone home or not yet arrived:
- The 4th of July is the Independence Day of the United States
- This holiday celebrates a special document called the Declaration of Independence, which officially ratified America’s liberation from Great Britain’s rule
- The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776
- The United States is turning 246 years old this year (rather young relative to other major powers around the world!)
The 4th of July is a beloved holiday by many Americans–-this day celebrates our country’s freedom (one of our founding values), brings family and friends together on a sunny day, and provides a moment for us to express gratitude for our home country.
Here are The Top 6 Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July:
6. Wear Red, White, and Blue
It’s time to sport all the red, white, and blue items you have laying around in your closet! This is a great way to get into the USA spirit. Whether you’re staying at home or hitting the town, wearing the national colors is a fun way to celebrate the holiday throughout the day. Maybe get creative with some red, white, and blue bandanas, glitter, temporary tattoos, or funky sunglasses.
5. Go to a 4th of July Parade
Do a little research before the big day on any parades or block parties happening in your area. Fourth of July parades often include quintessential American icons/symbols such as Uncle Sam, the bald eagle, and of course, lots of American flags. Just don’t forget to bring a bottle of water– it may be a warm one!
4. Eat Hot Dogs and Hamburgers
America is known around the world for its love for hot dogs and hamburgers. Although we may not enjoy these delicious foods as often as the rest of the world is led to believe, we certainly do on the 4th of July! If you don’t eat meat, there are several meat alternatives such as soy dogs or beyond burgers that will still allow you to participate in the fun.
3. Visit a Historic Landmark
In addition to the festivities, Independence Day is a chance to remember and learn about our national history. Visit a historic landmark as a reminder of why we celebrate this day with fun and joy. It’s easy to lose touch with all that our young country experienced on its journey to freedom and democracy.
2. Watch fireworks
As the day winds down and the sun sets, be sure to check out any fireworks show near you. The celebration of this day with fireworks dates back almost as far as America’s conception as in an independent nation. What started as a 13-gun salute, in commemoration of the 13 colonies, evolved into the grand fireworks show that we view in awe every year. Learn more about the history of 4th of July fireworks here. If you don’t have a fireworks show nearby, grab some sparklers to light in the backyard!
1. Spend time with family and friends
At the end of the day, if you’re celebrating the Fourth of July with family and friends, it’s hard to go wrong. Though this holiday commemorates America’s liberation from Great Britain, it also creates the precious opportunity to gather with your loved ones in mutual appreciation for the rights we are granted in this country to protest, vote, and express ourselves freely. It is a privilege to share these aspects of American culture with our international friends every year– virtually or in-person.
If you’re lucky enough to have a past or current exchange student with you on the 4th of July, be sure to ask how he/she celebrates their national holiday in their own country as well. Are there any traditions they typically observe that can be incorporated into your 4th of July celebration? If you’re sharing American Independence Day with your exchange student, be sure to remain curious about his/her cultural celebrations as well.
If you'd like to share this beautiful country with an exchange student, it's not too late! We are still looking for host families for teens from around the world who want to come this fall.