Fourth of July Celebrations: From a German’s Perspective
July 4th is around the corner and I’m looking forward to spending this day with my family. Ever since I move to the states, I’m amazed how Americans celebrate their country on this day, and they really celebrate. They spend their money on fireworks, decorations, food and drinks and celebrate with their families and friends.
This is something I haven’t been used to growing up thousands of miles away in Germany. This is due to the fact of Germany’s history. It still affects the country and may be why there is almost no visible patriotism – our history still makes us hesitant to celebrate.
There isn’t an Independence Day. The Germans have a Day of German Unity – October 3rd, celebrating the unification of eastern and western Germany in 1990.
Before 1990, the national holiday in West Germany was the 17th of June – a sad day, as on June 17, 1953, the workers’ uprising in East Germany was put down by the Soviet Army. That day became a national Remembrance Day in the West the following year and was later known as the “Day of German Unity” (“Tag der deutschen Einheit”).
So what is it like celebrating July 4th or German National Day in Germany? There are no parades, no fireworks, and you will most likely find a German eating dinner at the table just like every evening.
Shooting off fireworks in Germany will be reprimanded. It doesn’t matter if you are on private property or the City Mayor. Not on July 4, nor on October 3… only on New Year’s. And you won’t even find decent fireworks to buy in any German store any other time of the year.
This is why I really enjoy spending the Fourth of July in the states. So, here are a few of my favorite food and drink ideas on how you can make your July 4th even better. After all these years, I wish the Germans would celebrate their country just a little bit more.