Fourth of July Explained for Non-Americans

steppesidiomatic:

The Fourth of July is the holiday on which Americans give thanks twice as much to George Washington, George Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush, and Jimmy Carter.

One common American tradition on the Fourth of July is that of the Presidential Prayer Beads. At dinner time, one family member takes out a bracelet with 45 beads and uses it to help name each president and their role in building America. Every time the country elects a new President, families add a bead to their bracelet. Highly observant families also have bracelets devoted to the number of states, Constitutional Amendments, and Sessions of Congress.

Families settle down to the Independence Dinner after they finish counting and reciting all their beads and praying to each president. There is no single type of Independence Dinner. This reflects how America is a melting pot or tossed salad of different cultures and ways of life. In fact, that’s just what a lot of Americans do: they serve melting pots and tossed salads, but what’s in those meals differs with each region, city, or even neighborhood!

During the Independence Dinner, all Americans have their tv, radio, or web browsers open, listening for the First Bite made by the president. It’s customary that no one in the family starts eating until the President takes a bite of his or her own dinner, which has been broadcast throughout the country as long as there has been sound recording equipment or word of mouth in the Washington, D.C. It used to be a custom that the President would visit a household and take the First Bite from their dinner, but this ended with the Scalding of 1949.

After the Independence Dinner, Americans set out their lawn chairs on the grass, dirt, balcony, or in front of an open window. They do this to get a perfect view of the Fourth of July Fireworks. If you are staying in America during the Fourth of July, you will not need to travel very far to see the show because they are visible in virtually every part of the country. If an American does not live closer to a fireworks show, there is a good chance that their household plans to hold a fireworks show that year. Many states restrict the sale of fireworks, but if an American goes to a store and says I am holding a Fourth of July Fireworks show the law enforcement will usually look the other way. In major cities, this is less important because the town government will pay for the fireworks show.

When the Fourth of July Fireworks end, most Americans go to sleep. All burnt fireworks are recycled and all unused fireworks are sold back to retail stores at half price. If an American lives near the border with Mexico or Canada, they may cross the border to spread the festivities.

I hope this has been helpful. Criticisms and questions are welcome. If I missed something, please let me know. Happy Fourth of July!