It is nearing that time of year again – the 4th of July or Independence Day in America. It is perhaps the country’s most important federal holiday. On 4 July 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed and it is seen as the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.
This is the day America claimed independence from Britain and became a democratic country. The saying that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave stemmed off from its independence, and this is still the reason why many people head there to live the American Dream or to find a better life and a better future for them and their families.
Today the fourth of July is celebrated in two major ways: Fireworks and barbeques. All the big cities will have grand fireworks displays and the major ones in Boston and New York are usually broadcast live on television as well. The fireworks also excite citizens and many shoot their own, but it is important to do this in a safe area and have someone operate the fireworks that know what they’re doing.
This year, many people are nervous, because the weather forecast looks a little grim. Rounds of rain and thunderstorms are forecast for portions of the mid-Mississippi Valley to the Ohio River Valley and the Mid-Atlantic States on Independence Day. There is also a warning for flash flooding in some of these areas. This may jeopardize parades, fireworks and barbeques, but Americans will definitely still make plans to have a good time.
Then there is the barbeque – an American tradition on the fourth of July. If there is one day in the year where it’s normal to see every house along your street having a barbeque in their garden, it will be on the 4th of July. This is a wonderful way to enjoy a bit of American tradition and perhaps to make some American friends. It’s always important to make an effort to understand the cultures and customs of the country you work in, even if it’s not something you’re used to, so make this 4th of July the day you also attend, or host, a barbeque.
The classic American cookout usually consists of a few essential dishes. The burger is the most important. People will grill their burgers (preferably as thick and juicy as possible) on the barbeque and then have a table set up with soft white burger roles, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, crispy bacon, fried mushrooms and all the toppings imaginable. Corn on the cob is another staple and is simply a corn twisted on the fire to make a smoky side. Salads are also essential and two favorites are the potato salad and the Orzo or pasta salad. For dessert, cake, cobbler or fried funnel cakes are popular.
If you’re attending a barbeque, it’s essential that you take something with you. Making a side or something sweet are both great, and easy, ways to contribute. You could even make a salad that is traditional in your own country, to teach your friends about your culture, or go for something traditionally American to feel like you’re learning something about American culture.
To make things more exciting, you could perhaps cook up a delicious sauce for the burgers or make a more exotic salad. Watermelon salads are cool and refreshing, or example. Another idea for something to bring to a barbeque is lemonade. You can either make traditional lemonade or be creative with something like raspberry lemonade.
For dessert, you might find it fun to bake cupcakes or make cookies decorated in the colors of the American flag – red, white and blue. Stars and stripes cakes are a very popular way to both enjoy something sweet and to show your pride.
Whatever you do this fourth of July, make sure you add a bit of American flair to your day. You might not always enjoy the fact that you’re working in a foreign country away from your family, but the fourth of July is a day where you can indulge a little, have a little fun, and taste a bit of that American dream you came here to live.