Today is July 4th, or as it is more commonly known across the Atlantic Independence Day. A day when people get to let off fireworks (unless in one of the four states that ban them), get out the BBQ and drink beer. Oh, and also remember throwing off the yoke of oppression from all those Hollywood villain Brits.
It’s the brave sacrifice of Australians like Mel Gibson that helped the colonials rise up against the diabolic taxation of King G and get representation in a constitutional republic (unless you live in Washington D.C.). For Mrs G it’s more important than that, July 4th is a day that she has to go to work while all her family and friends back home get the day off. Did throwing all that tea into the harbour not mean anything.
This is the interesting aspect of our family, she is a proud Yank and I’m a stiff upper lipped Limey. Our daughter is going to be a mix of both of our cultures so how will we celebrate cultural holidays where you celebrate the beating up of one parent so the other could be unoppressed? Will she grow up calling it Independence or Insurrection Day?
In early July she will be asked to celebrate freedom from the tyranny of a monarch but then in November will be letting off fireworks again but this time in remembrance of a king not being murdered.
Thanksgiving will be done properly, but for any of her British friends it will be as foreign as Diwali or Hanukkah, yet she will not get the Snoopy specials on TV or the threat of Black Friday. Again, more importantly, there will not be the day off school. A good deal of the cultural upbringing will be denied because she happens to be a half-American living in the UK. Mrs G has already decided that July 4th and Thanksgiving will be cultural holidays and that she and The Feliciraptor will be staying at home.
Similar conversations with my employers have led to raised eyebrows, oh God is this how it feels to be oppressed? Pass me that box of Yorkshire Tea, I’m throwing it in the sink.
To prepare for these American holidays we are going to have to plan in advance. I was asked this morning where I could get sparklers from. Due to the economic downturn many Sparkler shops across the UK have closed down, the firework industry has been very hard hit and it was difficult in a country that has an over abundance of gunpowder’s nemesis; rain.
The only time you can get fireworks in the UK is when we remember torturing and burning catholics on Guy Fawkes Night. This means we will have to stockpile explosives in Winter for the following Summer. This isn’t the problem, the real issue will be all those Brits sitting in their living rooms tutting because someone is letting off fireworks in July. The social shame.
What is important is that I’m in a bi-cultural family and that we should bring up our child to feel inclusive of both. If this means having a BBQ and Beer then this is a sacrifice I am willing to make.
Plus I’ve seen what happens when you oppress an American, and I don’t want to spend an afternoon fishing tea bags out of the toilet.