Top 10 Things To Do on July 4th

Independence Day (July 4th) has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870 (although it was celebrated even before then). It celebrates the American colonies’ independence from Great Britain and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Most people do not work, and some do crazy things like eating as many hotdogs as they can (in the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest held in Coney Island, NY). There are parades, fireworks, food, and drink.

What to do on fourth of July

Whether you’re an expat living in France or an Americanophile, you can appreciate this day of celebration by doing something typically American. Here is a list of 10 fun ways to celebrate July 4th in France without looking like an ugly American:

  1. Have a BBQ (or a block party). The 4th means parades and eating hamburgers or hotdogs from the grill. Who cares if there’s no parade; there’s still a reason to invite friends over for a BBQ.

  2. Make some homemade coleslaw. For a delicious sauce, mix equal parts of mayo, sugar and cider vinegar. Add a tablespoon of mustard. Mix it with finely chopped cabbage, grated carrot and a grated onion. And don’t forget to thank our Dutch forebearers for introducing it to the colonies.

  3. Make pink lemonade. Mix fresh lemon juice, water and sugar in a pitcher. Add fresh or frozen raspberries or a couple tablespoons of grenadine. Top it with fresh mint.

  4. Eat some watermelon slices. Did you know watermelon was grown by Native Americans in the 16th century, probably introduced to the colonies by African slaves? Eat a nice red slice of melon (and then let your kids have a watermelon seed spitting contest).

  5. Catch some fireflies. I’ve never actually seen any in France, but I’ve been told they exist (and please don’t trap them in a jar and try to read by their light….)

  6. Have a field day, literally! Organize a picnic in a local park with fun activities like a three legged race, egg and spoon race or a game of baseball.

  7. Light some fire crackers (or just wait until Bastille Day ten days later). July 4th usually ends with fireworks at sundown. But if there aren’t any around you, you can make your own light show (if you can find any since they are not quite legal in France).

  8. Read up on American history. Remind your children about freedom and liberty and teach them about important American symbols. O, Say Can You See is a great resource for a brief history on American symbols.

  9. Visit an American historical monument in France. There are over a dozen US monuments and American cemeteries in France, including the D-Day Beaches in Normandy.

  10. Do nothing! Take advantage of the day off and relax.

Happy Fourth of July!

Recipes for 4th of July

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