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What is Independence Day and how should I celebrate it as an expat in America?

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21 June, 2019

Independence Day has been celebrated on 4 July since 1776. The day marks America’s independence from Britain’s rule. If you’re an expat living in America, you’ll also be aware that 4 July is a public holiday, which means a day off work!

However, as a newcomer to the country, you may have questions about whether you’re allowed to join in celebrations and what they entail. Luckily for you, Americans are a very welcoming nation and would be glad for foreigners to participate in the fun. As an expat, the public holiday will also provide many opportunities for you to get to know the neighbours and make new friends.

So whether you’ve just moved to the U.S., or have employees who have relocated, here are ideas about ways to join in Independence Day celebrations and mark your arrival to the state.

Experience an Independence Day parade

Many towns across America hold their parades for residents. Extravagant floats, bands, and performers pass through the streets putting on a good show. Some parades also have fireworks for the finale. There are hundreds of local parades to attend. However if you can get yourself to Washington D.C., you’ll be able to experience the Official National Independence Day Parade. Bands, fife and drum corps, military, giant balloons and even celebrities pass through the streets on out-of-this-world floats. There’s also the opportunity to put yourself forward to volunteer in the parade. Now that really would mark your arrival to the country!

Head down to your nearest lake or beach

Fourth of July falls in America’s summer, so the weather on Independence Day is likely to be hot. Because of this, many families head down to their nearest lake or beach to spend the day celebrating by the water. Some beaches host their events with fireworks, parades, and even a BBQ for everyone to enjoy. Famous beaches to spend Independence Day on are Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, and Huntingdon Beach in Southern California. Check out the nearest water areas near you to find out what their Independence Day plans are.

Join in with colleagues’ Independence Day celebrations

Being the new person in the office isn’t easy. People might make an effort to start with, but as weeks go by, enthusiasm can wear off with work and home life getting in the way. Independence Day often involves groups of friends socialising at local gatherings. Ask your colleagues what they’re up to on 4 July to get an understanding about how people celebrate the occasion in your area. You may find they have some good ideas, or better still, they invite you to join in their celebrations. It can be daunting to put yourself out there as the newcomer, however, showing a willingness to fit in will help you bond with team members and you might even make some good friends too.

Host your American-themed gathering

Finally, if you’re feeling brave, you could throw your private gathering on Independence Day. Invite neighbours into your home for American-themed food and drinks. Hosting your event will give you an excuse to announce your arrival to the area and give you a chance to get to know people living nearby. Many Independence Day spreads consist of hot dogs, hamburgers, cobb salads, and key lime pie. However, add in some of your own country’s traditional favourites too as it’ll make a high talking point and give neighbours a little insight into your pre-American lifestyle.

For more ideas about how you, or your employee who has relocated, can celebrate Independence Day as an expat in America, contact one of our friendly experts on 01635 239040 or email


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