Independence Day or the 4th of July celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. It is a day when people of all races, backgrounds, and beliefs come together under one nation & flag. Traditionally, the 4th of July is celebrated by friends & family with BBQs, fireworks, and parades. As a travel nurse or allied professional, it can be difficult being away from your friends & family during a holiday so rooted in tradition such as the 4th of July. So, if you are feeling a bit homesick this holiday, please check out one of these unique 4th of July traditions happening across the U.S.
If you are in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Independence Day, do not miss out on the “tapping” of the legendary Liberty Bell as it is tapped 13 times signifying the original 13 colonies that formed the U.S. Prior to 1846, it was a proud tradition to ring the Liberty Bell on the 4th of July. However, due to concerns over cracks on the bell, the ringing was replaced by tapping. Today, tapping the bell signals bells around the country to begin ringing.
In Coney Island, a part of New York City, the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is a staple of the 4th of July celebrations. The contest dates back to more than a century ago and is said to have been created as a way for two friends to settle a feud. Today, the contest is pretty much a dream destination for those who love food, especially hot dogs. There is a men’s and women’s championship, and in recent years it has been aired on ESPN as well. It is a fitting tradition, given that hot dogs are a traditional food all over the US.
Parades are a staple of 4th of July celebrations across the U.S. Every place has its own parade, celebrating local and national achievements and important moments in history. In South Carolina, the Murrells Inlet community has been organizing its own unique parade of boats since 1984. In recent years, the number of entries into the parade has exceeded 100, and that’s just the pre-booked numbers! For a parade unlike any other, you would be hard-pressed to find any other place.
In South Central Kentucky, folks have been celebrating the 4th of July by collecting obsolete electronic equipment, taking them into the forests, launching them in the air, and then shooting the flying appliances & equipment. If you have ever imagined destroying all of the electronics around you, watching these guys shoot some computers hurled into the air should feel pretty cathartic.
In New Mexico, the Mescalero Apache reservation is host to a traditional Native-American ceremony every 4th of July. The welcoming Mescalero Apaches have made this ceremony open to the public, in which teenage girls complete their coming-of-age rituals. As part of the rituals, the girls must run around a basket containing four sacred items symbolizing the four stages of life. The girls dance to the beat of traditional instruments each night, along with their godmothers and singers under the Holy Lodge.
If unique entertainment is what you are looking for, The San Francisco Mime Troupe performs a free show every 4th of July in San Francisco, California. The historic theater group consisting of not your typical mimes with faces painted white, was founded in the city in 1959 and has been performing in city parks across San Francisco for ages. The mime troupe performs throughout the year, but the 4th of July performance marks the start of their next year.
No matter how you decide to celebrate Independence Day this year, we hope you have a safe & happy holiday. Happy 4th of July from MedPro Healthcare Staffing!