Parades, charred meat, illegal fireworks, firemen getting naked — freedom’s a great reason to party.
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CANADA: Canada Day, July 1st

There's no one way to celebrate Canada Day, but being outdoors is apparently required. Parades, music festivals, carnivals, fireworks, barbecues, and sunburns are all on the list, no matter which region you're in.

Photo: bulliver
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NORWAY: Syttende Mai, May 17th

Norway celebrates with children's parades. In Oslo, around 100,000 people congregate in the city centre for the country's longest, which includes about 100 schools and bands. "Every town has their own parade with lots of music and flag waving, and everyone dresses up in their "bunads" -- folk costumes with different designs from different parts of the country," says Matador staff writer Emily Arent. "It's a relatively big deal."

Photo: Scarto
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BELIZE: Independence Day, September 21st

Independence Day in Belize is only eleven days after the Battle of St. George's Caye Day, and a part of the September Celebrations. Similar to the carnavals of Brazil and Trinidad, the festivities in Belize start weeks before the actual holidays, with radio stations playing soca and punta tunes saved for this time of year. On the 21st, the "Jump Up" parade starts at the hottest time of day, which doesn't stop thousands of revelers from joining in.

Photo: Lily Girma of Sun and Stilettos
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INDIA: Independence Day, August 15th

"There will be millions of kites on the Delhi skyline," Manu Stanley commented on Matador's Facebook page. Parades, picnics, fireworks, and concerts are also a part of India's Independence Day celebrations, but in my opinion, the kite flying has got to be one of the most beautiful and symbolic expressions of freedom on this list.

Photo: Meanest Indian
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FRANCE: Bastille Day, July 14th

Celebrations start off with a military parade on the morning of the 14th down the Champs-Elysées to the Place de la Concorde, which is both the biggest and oldest military parade in Europe. It's a dignified event best followed by heading to the nearest fire station and watching a French fireman strip for money.

Photo: michalogiorgakis
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BRAZIL: Sete de Setembro, September 7th

In the capital of Brasília, tens of thousands attend the military parade at the Ministries Esplanade (at the price of about a million reais per ticket). Similar parades are held in Rio and São Paolo.

Photo: Prefeitura de Sete Lagoas
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SOUTH AFRICA: Freedom Day, April 27th

This date commemorates the first post-apartheid elections in 1994. "Unfortunately, we don't do anything particularly interesting on [this day]," says Matador editor Richard Stupart. "Most families who can will probably use it as an off day to meet relatives, have a braai (barbeque), or generally just relax."

Photo: AllAfrica
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GREECE: Independence Day, March 25th

This date carries both historical and religious meaning for Greece. In late March of 1821, the country revolted against the Ottoman Empire; their success coincided with the Feast of Annunciation, which commemorates the day Mary was visited by the archangel Gabriel. While military parades are held in Athens and other towns, the island of Tinos celebrates the Annunciation with dances, banquets, and other religious festivities.

Photo: Aster-oid
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MEXICO: Independence Day, September 16th

In commemoration of Miguel Hidalgo's "Grito de Dolores" speech delivered on September 15th, 1810, celebrations for Mexican Independence Day actually start the evening before, when the president rings Hidalgo's historic liberty bell as the clock strikes eleven, then delivers the famous speech. Festivities the next day include mariachi parades, bullfights, rodeos, and feasts.

Photo: Guerry
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ISRAEL: Yom Ha'atzmaut, 5th of Iyar

The official ceremony for Israel's Independence Day takes place in Jerusalem, where the speaker of the Israeli Parliament addresses the country from Mount Herzi, followed by a ceremonial torch lighting. In Jerusalem and other cities, many roads are closed to traffic to make room for live music and performances, barbecues, and cups of arak.

Photo: the half blood prince