patriotic sam

National celebrations

Whee--don't you just love when you try to edit a poll question after the fact and then LJ eats the whole thing? I sure do. -_-

Anyhow, my dear international friends, I'm curious to know whether you folks have something equivalent to our Fourth of July celebrations. Independence day? Birthday of a monarch or founding figure? Memorial of some important victory? And if so, how do you celebrate--food? Fireworks? Parades and festivities?

And for those of you also in these great United States, I'd love to hear what you do to celebrate. For years we'd go to my grandmother's house to watch the local parade go by, which was a several-hour affair. (So many fire engines and vintage cars...) Recently we mostly just do a cookout with my sister's family and set off fountain fireworks at the base of our driveway.

Feel free to natter away in the comments. :)
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We don't have a constitution or any kind of national day. I suppose the closest we get is either the Queen's official birthday - but that's really more for tourists and London, and there's nothing that happens nationwide- or St George's Day - when some people might buy an England flag or a tea towel or something, but generally that's about it. The only time people get excited about being English is when the World Cup is on and while England is still in the tournament - but again, nothing official and nothing nationwide.
Interesting--I'm so used to having an enormous, country-wide celebration that it's hard to imagine not having something equivalent.

(Multiple celebrations, really--there tends to be slightly lower-scale ongoings for Memorial day as well, and of course Thanksgiving; fewer fireworks, more food, in the case of the latter.)
USA
(Anonymous)
My grandparents owned a summer cottage on a lake in mid-state NY (not too far from Albany) which they inherited from a great aunt. I've been going there for the Fourth of July since I was born. It has been the gathering point for our family for decades - the number who show up fluctuates from year to year as families grow and then disperse around the country. One spectacular year all six of the kids in my generation could make it (PA, NY, VA, MA) with spouses and a new crop of kids....plus the cousins first and second who had a camp across the lake. My parents lived 45 minutes away, and I had every twist and turn memorized of the route there... now my husband and I and our four live three hours away in VT, but we make it work!

In 1976 my grandpa got a new flag for the front corner of the porch and we took a posed photo in front of it. We now have a unbroken string of photos taken there ever since.

We spend the day swimming and boating and swimming and playing horseshoes and lying in the hammock. And swimming. And eating! My aunt and uncle own the place now, and my aunt is a fabulous hostess - no matter how many people show up, she seems to always have enough food. The one bedroom to change in and the one tiny bathroom make it a bit challenging, but - it's camp!

Some families around the lake set off fireworks - there used to be a grand rivalry between my great uncle and his friend across the lake as each would try to outdo the other! My dad was always appointed to man the cranky BBQ and my mum supplied the marinated chicken and strawberry shortcakes.

This year it wasn't windy enough for the sailboat, but after the heat wave that we've been having we were content just to be wet! My kids and I didn't come out until our fingers were shriveled raisins...
Re: USA
Oh, that sounds idyllic. I'm very much looking forward to our family's annual vacation up to NH for similar lake-and-family goodness.
Ironically the only national day we really celebrate is Saint Patrick's Day, which is Irish and consists of lots of green face paint, clothing, and a fucktonne of Guinness!
Ha--that is indeed ironic! For some reason I expected Guy Fawkes day to be a bigger deal, but I guess not...