Here’s Why Denmark Celebrates America’s Independence Day Every Year

Every year on July 4, the United States lights up with fireworks and blares apt country songs to celebrate the independence the country’s founding fathers won from Britain in 1776. Sparklers, flag-themed speedos, cheap lagers, and dads grilling burgers while wearing ironic aprons mark the occasion’s traditions. It’s a national holiday that draws the patriotic and those who simply enjoy an excuse to party, out of their homes and into parks to gather en masse. The historical significance of the date is remembered by most, though perhaps only superficially. Instead, we celebrate the things we want the holiday to stand for. For some, that’s rebellion in the face of oppression. For others, it’s the red, white, and blue of it all. And yet there are those in a country across the big pond who celebrate the U.S.’s holiday for their own reasons.

Other countries that were once colonized before winning their freedom have national holidays to mark their independence as well. For example, Mexico celebrates its freedom from Spain’s hold on September 16. According to World Atlas, 178 countries have holidays to mark their independence from colonizing forces, and a few of those countries have, sadly, more than one, but it looks like nations that celebrate the independence days of other countries are in the vast minority. One striking member of that minority is Denmark. So, why exactly does Denmark get down with American independence every year?

Denmark's United States Independence Day

It might be odd to imagine a herd of Danish folks running around waving American Flags and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but if you ever have the desire to fly to the country’s northern Rebild region in early July, you could witness the phenomenon for yourself. Vice notes you’re even likely to catch an air show with swooping fighter jets, children running around in face paint, Danish American celebrities, and a seemingly bizarre intermingling of Danish and American foods and music. But the celebration is more than just hotdogs and pickled herring.

According to BBC, Denmark has held the largest foreign American Independence Day celebration every year at Rebild National Park for over a century, and there’s a legal reason for this. The park was purchased by a group of a Danish Americans in 1911. The following year, it was deeded to the country of Denmark under the conditions that the land would remain a permanent, undeveloped memorial to Danish American heritage. Since then, it’s been a space where those of this specific cultural mix can gather to celebrate United States holidays, of which Rebildfesten (the Fourth of July) is the most popular.

Unlike the single-day celebration in the United States, the Danes do it right, holding a four-day party attended by thousands of Danes, Americans, Danish Americans, and tourists. Seeing the mix break it down to both countries’ folk songs while slapping back schnapps and American beer is truly a sight to behold.

pictellme.com