Top Things to Do on the 4th of July

by GoAbroad Writing Team

No matter where you are in the world, if you are American (or maybe even if you aren’t) and it is July 4th, you will feel the urge to show your patriotism and celebrate the United States Independence Day. Whether you are halfway across the world studying in Australia, or taking a break from volunteering in Brazil; you could be searching for the best way to end your work week in China, or even be right in the good ol’ U. S. of A., finishing up an eight hour day teaching squealing children. No matter what you’re doing and where in the world you are, we’ve got plenty of ways you can celebrate the Fourth of July right here!

A patriotic beer on the 4th of July
A patriotic beer on the 4th of July. Photo by Donna Perry

1. Sport the Nation’s Colors. Dig out your Old Navy tank with the American flag bedazzled across the front, or throw on that classic red t-shirt with your favorite pair of blue jeans. Choose anything red, white, blue (or all three!) from your closet, and wear it loud and proud throughout the day.

2. Have a Barbeque. A long time, warm weather tradition around the world, but especially significant to Americans on the Fourth, there is no better day to fire up the grill, throw on some hot dogs, prep your burger patties with a little worcestershire sauce and a lot of TLC,and chill in your backyard with all of the friends and family you can possibly fit. Spend the afternoon in a lounge chair sipping on an ice cold lemonade, listening to your favorite BBQ playlist, and simply enjoying your “freedom”!

3. Go to the Beach. Any American knows that July 4th is one of the top holidays to go boating, boogie boarding, sand castle building, or just relaxing near any body of water for a day. Skip stones and float around on rafts at your nearest lake, play marco polo, or see who has got the best cannonball jump at the local pool. Hit the beach if you’re near one, take in the familiar sound of the waves, and reminisce about your childhood days celebrating the 4th in just the same way.

4. Listen to the National Anthem. On any other day of the year, people might think you are a little odd to be playing this song on repeat, but on the 4th of July it is a must. Find every variation of the Star Spangled Banner that you can stand, bust out the speakers, turn up the volume, and proceed to impersonate your favorite anthem singer from history. (The GoAbroad Team recommends Christina Aguilera’s performance from  the 2011 Superbowl).

5. Go to an Independence Day Parade. Grab your folding chair and fanny pack, and head to the nearest Independence Day parade. If you are out of the country, flip on the TV or search the internet and you will surely find a parade to watch from abroad. Parades are a staple of every major national holiday in the United States, so watching one will definitely get you into a celebratory mood!

6. Set off Fireworks or Watch a Fireworks Show. Unless you are in a country that it is illegal to do so, go out and get some fireworks or see if there is a fireworks display scheduled to take place in your city. Nothing says the fourth of July like laying on a blanket under the stars as you watch the sky being lit up with bursts of colorful, twinkling, lights!

7. Make Patriotic Food and Drinks. Bake cupcakes and dye the frosting blue, find some red fruits at the local market, or buy M & M’s in each color. Have fun with your food selections for the day, and get creative with the party platter of that BBQ you’re hosting or attending. If all else fails, there is always a way to make mixed drinks of any color too! Eating food that reflects patriotism will inspire your own festive spirit, instantly.

8. Light up the Night with Sparklers. Let go and enjoy the childish simplicity of this activity. Feel like a kid again, as you dance around writing your name in the sparks, or share the excitement of these dazzling sticks with the neighborhood children and enchant them with the wonder of sparklers.

9. Find an American Flag. Once you exhaust all resources available and make most or all of the above activities happen, you can fulfill what remains of your desire to celebrate the 4th of July, by finding an American flag to display in front of your apartment, outside of your car, or  just carry around with you, to show your appreciation of being an American.

Please note: consider the time, place and people with which you choose to practice these traditions and be mindful of the culture of your host country. Have fun and introduce your international friends to these traditions, so they can share the experience with you, but do so with cultural sensitivity and don’t just be a loud, obnoxious american. Enjoy your holiday!