I’ve been reading a lot recently about all the different Independence Day celebrations that took place in the USA – and in the UK at US-themed fancy dress parties – over the weekend. It all looks like so much fun, from the various firework displays in different cities (the ones in San Francisco are said to be amongst the most spectacular) to major concerts from music superstars like Rihanna and the Foo Fighters.
It’s all got me thinking – patriotic celebrations are often such lavish spectacles that it’s the perfect time to visit a country and enjoy the very best of what it has to offer. For example, I have friends that organise breaks in Dublin for every St Patrick’s Day – but they do this at the end of the summer, even though the celebration is in March, just so they can ensure they’ve got somewhere good to stay! And my Scottish friends absolutely love going home for St Andrew’s Day, as someone’s always having a party of some sort.
Next week, it’s Bastille Day in France, a national celebration that marks the Storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution. This is pretty spectacular too, with a parade taking place down the famous Champs-Élysées in Paris, as well as a beautiful firework display illuminating the Eiffel Tower.
Another national day festivity that’s guaranteed to be fun is Australia Day, which takes place in January – in the middle of the Australian summer. As a public holiday in the country, Australia Day plays host to loads of parties and concerts, as well as the announcement of the Australian of the Year Award – presented by the Prime Minister to an Australian citizen who has contributed a lot to the Australian community and nation.
I haven’t been to either France or Australia on their national days, but I was in India for its Independence Day celebrations every 15th August when I was travelling there many years ago. It really was a lot of fun and, despite the fact that me and my backpacking buddies were British – and Independence Day, of course, marks India‘s independence from British rule – everyone got us to join in. A couple we had met invited us to their parents’ house for dinner and there were loads of games played and stories swapped – not to mention great food!
I guess what I’m saying is, if you are visiting a country during its national day festivities, make the most of it – people are sure to be welcoming and friendly, and you’ll probably get to experience a jubilance that may only occur once a year.