How To Celebrate Fourth Of July In Another Country
If you're looking for ways to celebrate Fourth of July in another country, chances are you may be a bit bummed that you're not back in the homeland for all the action. But by spending the holiday abroad, you're almost guaranteed to have an even better time than you would stateside. The fact you're overseas, and hence not automatically surrounded by a cacophony of tributes to America and patriotic paraphernalia, means you'll have to rely on your own creativity and inventiveness to craft clever ways to celebrate the country's birthday. It's in these ad-hoc attempts to awaken a sense of festive patriotism in a foreign city that you're bound to have the most fun.
Whether you're on vacation, studying abroad, or living abroad, in just a few steps you can throw a memorable Fourth of July shindig for the books. I've spent the majority of my relevant (read: party-age) Independence Days abroad, minoring in French in college and going on to get my master's in Paris. I quickly learned that throwing a successful party for America while not in America is all about gathering with great company and doing your best.
Even if you can't have a big backyard barbecue bash and end the evening beneath a sky full of fireworks, you get an A+ for effort if you can get as much red, white, and blue together as possible (bonus points for stars and stripes), digest some American fare, and drink some good old American brew while jamming out with friends to American hits. The distance from the U.S. and inevitable homesickness actually help to stir up a stronger sense of patriotic pride. So get to planning your Independence Day soirée sans fireworks, and show wherever you are what America's all about.
1. Get Your Hands On Americana Paraphernalia
In the time leading up to the big day, you should keep your eyes peeled for Americana paraphernalia of all varieties. While anything in the shape or suggestion of stars and stripes is nice, keep an open mind. Other less-obvious merchandise can sub in for a celebration of America — jerseys of American sports teams are great for decorating (and donning) as well as movie posters of iconic American films. Think out of the box when gathering your quirky slew of decorations — any decor in red, white, and blue can go a long way.
2. Dress The Part
Dress in head-to-toe red and blue, and better yet, in shamelessly American brands. For one Fourth of July in Paris, I scoured through bins at vintage "frip'" shops to find matching red, white, and blue ensembles for me and my friend. An overdose of denim also does the trick. In this photo from a French Fourth of July fête at which I was a guest of a guest of a guest, the shock of a firetruck red button down, paired with a bold red lip and a red, white, and blue Napoleon Dynamite "Vote For Pedro" hat I happened to have lying around, made for the perfect patriotic getup. If you have an extra American flag on hand that you aren't using as decorative drapery, wear it as a cape or transform it into a dress.
3. Cook Up American Fare
Put together a menu of strictly American fare for your Independence Day dinner or lunch. You may have to get a bit creative with the ingredients available, but do your best to whip together classics like hamburgers, hot dogs, and potato casserole. If you don't feel like cooking, see if you can find an American-style or American-run restaurant or bar in the city. If you do your research ahead of time, you may even be able to ask if they're doing something special for the big day, taking care of some of the party-planning work for you.
4. Gather American Snacks
In addition to a fully American lineup of dishes, see what American snacks you can have on hand for your guests. You may have to commit to a bit of a scavenger hunt, but with some patience and dedication you're sure to find fun American snacks (think cereals, candy bars, and chips) that pull on the homesick heartstrings of all your ex-pat guests.
5. Serve American Drinks
Have your party-goers wash down their American fare with some equally American beverages. Provide a strong lineup (or even a couple good finds, depending on where you are) of American brews, and be sure to also have some other softer classic American drinks available, like sodas and juices. Not only will they serve up a refreshing dose of nostalgia, but they'll pull double duty as mixers for some harder libations.
6. Cue Up An American Playlist
Create a party-long playlist full of popular American tracks that will get everyone in the mood to bust a move. Mix it up between old school classics and newer hits, with plenty of '90s singles that will take everyone right back to their youth. Make sure you plan your playlist in advance, as varying copyright laws might not allow you to use your music streaming go-tos while overseas.
7. Rally The Troops
Invite all your friends to join in celebrating the Fourth of July. Don't limit the party to just Americans abroad — your local friends will have just as much fun celebrating America's birthday.
Images: Dacy Knight (6), Unsplash, Urban Outfitters