The 4th of July in the United States is Independence Day.
It’s a holiday that celebrates the US victory of the Revolutionary War against Great Britain.
Although the 4th of July has tons of celebrations and events held to commemorate the event, you may wonder if England does something similar.
After all, they were as heavily involved in the Revolutionary War as the United States.
Here’s what you need to know about England and its holidays.
Does England Celebrate The 4th Of July?
No, England does not celebrate the 4th of July.
The 4th of July is an American holiday.
It’s a time when Americans gather together or celebrate with their families all that it means to be American.
It’s a time of reflection and celebration of all the victories that the country has witnessed and fought for our country to become what it is today.
For many, it’s also a time of remembrance for those they lost in the fight for freedom and democracy.
Since England was on the losing side of the war, the holiday isn’t something they particularly feel the need to celebrate.
For much of the relationship between the countries, England carried on with business as usual whenever the 4th of July rolled around.
That changed during the first World War, however, when England and the United States found themselves allied against a common enemy.
Even in World War II, the two former enemies realized they had a special connection to one another.
Out of those tragic wars, a special relationship formed between England and the US.
England has since sometimes used the holiday to celebrate that relationship.
In one instance, they made a statue of George Washington and placed it in Trafalgar Square to symbolize Anglo and American history.
For the bicentennial celebration of Independence Day, England even gifted the country a copy of the Magna Carta, an extremely important historical document.
Although England may not set off fireworks to celebrate America’s independence from its former empire, the country has sometimes used it to nurture the relationship between the two countries.
What Is The British Equivalent Of The 4th Of July?
Since England doesn’t celebrate Independence Day, you may wonder if its people celebrate their own version of the holiday.
Great Britain has had its share of civil wars and various empires in the past, but it never had to fight for its freedom in the same way that America or many other countries have.
As such, they don’t have an Independence Day exactly.
Instead, they have a proposed holiday which they call British National Day.
This holiday isn’t official, so it isn’t a day that government officials and others take off from work.
The day chosen for the holiday is June 12th.
That said, the country also has several other holidays geared towards celebrating the different countries that make up the United Kingdom.
Some of those days include:
- St. George’s Day in England
- St. Andrew’s Day in Scotland
- St. David’s Day in Wales
- St. Patrick’s Day in Northern Ireland
The holidays tend to recognize all that is great about each of those particular countries.
For National Day in England, those who choose to participate usually do so in a similar fashion to Independence Day in the United States.
Feasts, sometimes parties or live events, and fireworks displays are some of the common themes.
The British flag and its colors are also often seen and flown to celebrate the day.
Because it isn’t an official holiday, however, most of the celebrations don’t quite reach the level of those held on Independence Day in the United States.
Does England Celebrate The Queen’s Birthday?
One of the most important official holidays in England is the Queen’s birthday.
In fact, Queen Elizabeth II actually has two birthdays.
The day she was born is in April.
However, she has an official birthday that’s celebrated across the country in June.
It’s a tradition that’s been around for over 250 years.
King George II was the one responsible for starting the tradition.
He was born in November, but he wanted his birthday celebrations to occur when the weather was warmer and more pleasant.
He decided to combine his official birthday with the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony held in June.
As such, the two events have always occurred on the same day.
Queen Elizabeth II didn’t always have her official birthday on the second Saturday of June either.
When she first ascended to the throne after her father’s death, she chose to have her official birthday on the second Thursday of June.
This was the same official birthday as her father, King George VI.
The holiday remained in place for seven years until, in 1959, she decided to change it to the second Saturday of June.
Since then, her birthday celebrations have always occurred on that weekend.
It includes Trooping the Colour, which brings together all branches of the British military force in a stunning display of tradition and might.
How Does England Celebrate The Queen’s Birthday?
Because the Queen has two birthdays, each has its own celebration.
To celebrate the date of her birth, which is on April 21, the Queen spends her birthday privately with family and friends.
Publicly, two military salutes occur to acknowledge the date of her birth.
The salute involves the shooting of a series of cannons.
Now and then, however, the Queen celebrates a few milestones differently.
When she turned 90, for example, she decided to take a walk along the streets of Windsor.
People gathered to see and meet the Queen, and she even received a birthday cake from the winner of The Great British Bake Off, Nadiya Hussain.
Portraits are also taken of the Queen on her natural birthday to commemorate certain milestones.
When it comes to her official birthday, things are a bit more lively.
The birthday events usually start with a 41-gun salute in London’s Green Park.
Trooping the Colour then occurs.
She’s usually joined by her family members during this event.
Trooping the Colour involves 1,400 soldiers, 400 musicians, and 200 horses.
The parade occurs down the street near Buckingham Palace with the Queen following the procession.
When she was younger, she’d ride horseback behind the soldiers.
As she’s grown older, however, she’s taken to riding in a carriage behind the troops.
Eventually, the parade comes to an end, and she oversees the escorting of a regimental flag from the senior soldiers to the next line of soldiers.
The flag is different every year and belongs to a different regiment each year, too.
Certain musical pieces are performed by the military band during this process.
Once the ceremony is over, the Queen and her family return to the palace and take to the balcony to watch the final event of the day.
The Red Arrows, a part of the Royal Air Force, fly overhead.
While the official part of the birthday celebration is over, some go on to celebrate her birthday further.
Now and then, London might hold special concerts or other live events to celebrate.
Does Australia Celebrate The Queen’s Birthday?
Since Australia is so far away from England, it’s easy to forget that Australia is a constitutional monarchy.
The Queen of England is the monarch of Australia.
Because of this, the people of Australia celebrate her birthday, too.
This wasn’t always the case, however.
The tradition started with King George III when the Governor of Australia, Arthur Phillip, made his birthday a bank holiday in 1788.
Australia then decided to move its bank holiday to whenever the reigning monarch’s natural birthday was.
They continued to do this until King George V’s birthday.
His birthday was on June 3rd, which was already close to the official birthday of the King.
Since then, Australia decided to make its bank holiday celebrating the monarch’s birthday on the first Monday of June.
Queen Elizabeth II has traveled to Australia quite a few times to celebrate her birthday with them and to simply visit.
Throughout her life, Her Majesty has visited Australia 16 times.
Australia celebrates the Queen’s birthday with a little less fanfare than in England.
Since it’s a bank holiday, many people have the day off from work.
Schools are also closed.
As such, most Australians use the extra day off as a time to spend time with family and friends.
Many use it to go on trips or vacations.
There is usually a fireworks display to commemorate the Queen’s birthday.
The government only allows its citizens to fire off fireworks on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of that weekend.
It’s worth noting that not all of Australia celebrates the Queen’s birthday on the first Monday of June.
Western Australia falls under the control of a different governor.
As such, the reigning governor can choose the date to celebrate the Queen’s birthday.
In most cases, they tend to choose a date in late September or early October as their bank holiday to celebrate the Queen’s birthday.
Celebrations in Western Australia are the same as the rest of Australia.
If the Queen decides to visit the country during her birthday, then they usually put together a bigger celebration or event to welcome her.
Australia also uses her birthday as a time to release the list of names for those who are going to receive the Order of Australia.
This is a special honor that’s only given to those who have performed great service for Australia, their community, or the wider world.
It’s similar to receiving a knighthood from the Queen.
Although Australia may be thousands of miles away from England, they still recognize her birthday every first Monday of June.
Does Canada Celebrate The Queen’s Birthday?
Yes, Canada does celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday.
They celebrate her birthday on the same day as Victoria Day.
Victoria Day is a national holiday held every May 24th unless it falls on a Sunday.
If the 24th falls on a Sunday, then they celebrate it on the 25th.
That was Queen Victoria’s birthday, the monarch responsible for much of the development of Canada.
Her birthday became an official holiday in 1901, shortly after her death.
For a time, Canada celebrated the reigning monarch’s birthday the same as England.
Every June, they’d have their own version of Trooping the Colours.
Historically, though, their celebrations weren’t quite as impressive.
Farmers would come with their pitchforks and march around before finding their way to the local bar.
They eventually decided to do away with the June celebration and combined the current monarch’s birthday with Queen Victoria’s.
As such, every May 24th, the country celebrates both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II.
The day is a bank holiday, so most people have it off.
It’s a time for them to celebrate their nation, political structure, and all things that make Canada what it is.
Canadians continue to celebrate Victoria to this day because of the investments she put into the country.
She founded and named several of the big cities that are there today.
Many attribute the current culture they have to the work that Victoria did.
While Canada doesn’t have an Independence Day like the United States, they do have a day on which they celebrate their nation.
That day is Victoria Day.
Does England Celebrate Halloween?
Yes, England does celebrate Halloween, but how they celebrate Halloween is a little different from how it’s celebrated in the United States.
Here are a few ways that American Halloweens and English Halloweens differ.
1. Celtic Roots
Halloween came out of the pagan celebration of Samhain.
Samhain means “summer’s end,” and it was a way to celebrate the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter season.
It was a transitionary period between the world of the living and the dead.
These Celtic roots are still felt strongly in certain parts of the United Kingdom.
Scotland and Ireland, for example, often have bonfires and dancing to celebrate Halloween.
Most of the parties and events usually include bonfires and dancing, which were traditional ways to celebrate Samhain.
While the emphasis is on trick-or-treating in America, England and the rest of the United Kingdom tend to stick to their roots.
2. England Prefers Guy Fawkes Night
While Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the United States, England actually has another more popular holiday.
Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, is a bigger deal in England than Halloween.
On November 5th, people gather together wearing masks of Guy Fawkes and spending time together around bonfires.
The holiday is a celebration of the failed attempt to blow up the Parliament Building.
Guy Fawkes and his conspirators intended to blow up the building after King James I refused to expand the religious freedoms and rights of Catholics.
These days, the holiday is more social than anything.
While Halloween is gaining traction in England, it’s still the 5th of November that sees the most activity.
3. Costumes Differ
In the United States, costumes can be as scary as zombies or as silly as a hot dog.
Kids dress as superheroes, princesses, or dinosaurs.
There aren’t any set rules as to what constitutes a costume in most cases.
People can go all out or simply wear a shirt with some writing on it.
The English tend to stick to more traditional costumes.
It’s more common to find children dressed as ghosts, vampires, and zombies.
They prefer to stick to the monsters.
A reason for that might be their closer ties to Samhain.
As a day that celebrates the transition from life to death, it only makes sense that scarier costumes would be more popular.
Besides costume themes, the US also spends a lot of money on their costumes.
England doesn’t spend as much money on their costumes.
4. Decorations Are Minimal In England
When it comes to Halloween in the United States, some people tend to go all out.
They completely transform their homes and front yards into haunted houses or graveyards.
The decoration displays are often par with the extravagance shown with Christmas decorations.
That isn’t the case in England.
It’s rare to see a lot of decorations for Halloween when it comes to people’s homes.
At most, they might put a few pumpkins out or some flags.
As Halloween continues to become more popular, that might change.
Because the 4th of July celebrates the United States becoming a free nation, it isn’t a holiday that England celebrates.
They have recognized the holiday a few times in the interest of becoming better friends with the US.
However, England has its own holidays that the United States doesn’t celebrate.
They also share some popular holidays like Halloween and Christmas.