The 4th of July in the United States is the day that marks the birth of the nation.  It is celebrated throughout the country, and is celebrated in a similar manner in most places.  Most businesses are closed on the 4th of July.

Communities and neighborhoods are a big part of the Independence Day traditions and celebrations.   A typical community will start the day with a parade.  The parade will be full of local groups walking in it.  Many community 4th of July parades will begin with the children of the community riding their bicycles.  It is typical that the kids will decorate their bicycles with red, white and blue streamers.  Fire trucks, local school bands, and local politicians are also very common in the 4th of July parades.  Many communities also include a group of veterans in the parade.  When a veteran’s group is passing your area, it is customary to stand up as a sign of respect.

All of these activities are very inclusive and are a great opportunity for an expat spouse to meet new people in the area.  Decorate your kid’s bike and join the celebration!

For the remainder of the day, many people enjoy getting together and having a picnic or a barbeque.  Many communities will have a festival, with bands, children’s games, and food.   The general theme of the day is to get together and enjoy the company of friends, neighbors and family.  Families will set up lawn chairs and blankets to sit on, so that when dusk arrives, they can sit and enjoy a fireworks show.

The United States is a very large place, and there are many regional customs.  However, the 4th of July is celebrated in much the same way throughout the country, and is a time to show pride in our nation.

Easter is the most holy of Christian celebrations, marking the resurrection of Christ. Christian Americans celebrate Easter in the church, but Easter has also become a holiday celebrated by people of all faiths in America, with a non-secular tone.

The non-secular mascot for Easter in America is the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny is a fictional creature, similar to Santa Claus. On the evening before Easter, children will set out baskets for the Easter Bunny. When the children sleep, the baskets are filled with treats and hidden somewhere in the home.  In the morning, the children search through the home looking for their baskets. Many parents allow their children to believe that the Easter Bunny is real.  The Easter Bunny is depicted as a large rabbit, usually wearing clothes, carrying a basket full of treats.

Traditional treats for an Easter basket include Easter Eggs, jelly beans and chocolates. Easter Eggs are traditionally hard-boiled eggs that have been dyed various colors. The chocolates are often made into shapes of eggs and bunnies.

Many communities will host Easter egg hunts for children. At these events, children bring their empty baskets, and look for treats hidden by the event organizers. Candy and other treats are often hidden inside hollow plastic eggs.

American families will have special meals to celebrate the Easter holiday. The traditional Easter meal includes ham. Side dishes that go along with the ham dinner are not as typical from family to family, but usually will include potatoes and vegetables. Many restaurants will have special brunch menus on Easter. It is customary to dress nicely at Easter.

The traditional colors for Easter celebrations consist of pastel blues, pinks, purples and yellow.