The City Fix
July 3, 2015
On 4th of July, here in Washington DC we celebrated our national Independence Day with barbecues, parades, and fireworks. Each year, the federal holiday commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, marking the birth of a new nation independent from Great Britain. Our city rings in the holiday with the National Independence Day Parade in the late morning and, at night, there is an elaborate fireworks show and a live concert.
Cities across the globe often celebrate their own national birthdays with festivities and traditions that highlight the local culture. All of these holidays are united by a common theme: pride in the country’s heritage and history.
But there’s more to it than just national pride. Cities play a vital role by providing the space for people to publicly congregate. In order to host the parades, flag ceremonies, and fireworks displays, cities need to invest in quality public spaces. By designing public spaces for the community, we are investing in the culture and pride of our countries, and setting the stage for greater civic engagement.
Let’s take a look at how some cities around the world celebrate their national birthdays:
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated on the night of September 15th and into the day of the 16th. The holiday dates back to 1810, when Mexico was free from Spanish rule. The holiday kicks off in Mexico City with the President of Mexico ringing the bells of the National Palace, followed by a cry of patriotism to excite the crowds for the day to come. The next day is filled with parades and other celebrations throughout the city commemorating Mexico’s history
On the 7th of September, Brazil celebrates their independence from Portuguese reign. In 1822, Dom Pedro, son of King Dom João VI of Portugal, officially shifted his loyalty to Brazil, and pledged freedom from Portugal. Much like in the United States, the holiday is celebrated with morning parades, followed by festivals and fireworks at night. The nation’s capital hosts a military parade, attended by the President of Brazil. Outdoor activities continue throughout the day, including concerts, picnics, and festivals.
New Delhi, India
In 1947, the Indian Independence Act separated British India into the independent countries of India and Pakistan. To commemorate this act, India celebrates each year on August 15th. Flags are an integral part of the celebration, and the cities host numerous flag hoisting ceremonies. Costume parties are often held as a way for citizens to show off their pride in the country and its culture.