Thursday, 4 July 2013

Happy Birthday To You!

Today is the 4th of July. It's the day that America left the empirical embrace of Great Britain and declared their independence some 237 years ago.

And my recent sojourn to visit Seattle-A and her boys (that's Husband, the little dudes and G the wonder dog!) means that America's National Day has featured a little higher on my radar this year.

In doing a little research to prepare for this post, I have learned that today is also Republic Day in The Philippines - celebrating their cessation as a US territory in 1946 - and Liberation Day in Rwanda - commemorating the end of the Rwanda Genocide in 1994.

I've also learned that Eritrea Independence Day (24th May) is by far the hardest to say and that Morocco The Day of Enthronement of His Majesty King Mohammed VI is the longest (30th July) closely followed by China Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China (1st October) - try fitting either of those on a postage stamp.

And last but not least, I've been overjoyed to discover that 1st August is both Switzerland Confederation Day and the Tonga Official Birthday of His Majesty King George Tupou V. Thanks goodness! I started to think that my own official day was to be celebrated amongst only the equine.

(Do you like how I slipped in the birthday reference? Clever huh.)

Anyway, it should come as no surprise that today's lunch-table conversation naturally turned to the National Days celebrated by my colleagues of many cultures.

My French colleague claims Bastille Day (14th July) as her national day with a raised fist and 'vive la revolucion!'  Our Italian celebrates the liberation of Italy from the Germans on the 25th April. (Incidentally that's ANZAC Day in Australia which commemorates the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915). The Turks at the table celebrate on 29th October with Turkey Republic Day and the English contingent hold St George's Day (yes, he of the dragon fame) up as the beacon of their nation.

And Australia? Well we have a celebratory beer on January 26th. Australia Day commemorates the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip sailed his fleet of eleven convict ships into Sydney Cove and 'settled' Captain James Cook's 1770 claim to Eastern Australia as a colony of the British Empire. We give out a few awards, go to the beach and chuck a few snags on the barbie. And we usually watch a bit of sport - tennis, cricket, horse-racing, yachting just to name a few.

Australia Day doesn't celebrate a separation as such (and rest assured I have plenty of views on that score). What it does represent is the birth of our modern nation, built on the shoulders of the brave who, in true pioneering spirit, forged a life for themselves in a strange and hostile land.

So as one pioneer to another, I raise a stubby to our American friends and with a taciturn nod, wish you a laconic 'happy birthday'.


Hope you've had a good one.


ps...and speaking of good ones, my loved ones have asked for 'The List' which means a certain blogger's big day is just 27 sleeps away...yes peeps, the countdown is back!
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