July Sparks celebrations for Independence Days in countries of Canada, United States of America and France; Reggae Day in Jamaica and Nelson Mandela Day worldwide. It’s a month of Fireworks, Parades, Music, Festivals and Picnics. Plenty to be happy about in July. Here are highlights of things to do around the world in July:

Things to do in July

July Sparks Celebrations for Independence DaysINTERNATIONAL REGGAE DAY – July 1 is recognized as International Reggae Day. A 24-hour celebration for reggae culture and its influence on Jamaican music, the day is hosted in Kingston, Jamaica. The objective is to celebrate the best of Jamaican creativity and its worldwide impact using the power of music, media and communication technology to unite nations. The backstory — International Reggae Day was inspired by Winnie Mandela during her official visit to Jamaica in July 1991 with her husband Nelson Mandela after his release from prison. Mrs. Mandela spoke of Reggae’s power through the works of Marley, Tosh, Cliff and others, to inspire South Africa’s people in the face of the oppressive Apartheid regime. A day to recognize the power of this art form seemed appropriate to Andrea Davis of Jamaica Arts Holdings and Reggae Day was launched on July 1, 1994.

July Sparks Celebrations for Independence Days

Canada celebrates its 150th Anniversary July 1

CANADA DAY (French: Fête du Canada)
– July 1 is the national day of Canada, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. The first of July marks the federal statutory holiday commemorating the July 1, 1867 enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (now know as the Constitution Act, 1867). The Constitution Act 1867 united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. The holiday was renamed in 1982 from Dominian Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération) to Canada Day. Observances take place throughout Canada as well as among Canadians internationally. Check local governments or countries websites for all festivities.

July Brings Independence Day for Canada, USA & France

July sparks celebrations for Independence Days

Fourth of July marks Independence Day in the USA

INDEPENDENCE DAY/FOURTH of JULY (USA) – July 4th is national Independence Day in the United States of America. A federal holiday celebrating the country’s freedom from the British Empire Rule and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) by the Continental Congress — declaring that the 13 American colonies regard themselves as a new nation –The United States of America — and no longer part of the British Empire. The 13 Colonies were a group of British colonies on the east coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries that declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States of America. The 13 colonies included: Province of New Hampshire; Province of Massachusetts Bay; Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations; Connecticut Colony; Province of New York; Province of New Jersey; Province of Pennsylvania; Delaware Colony; Province of Maryland; Colony of Virginia; Province of North Carolina; Province of South Carolina, and Province of Georgia.

“…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” – The Excerpt from the Declaration of Independence

Festivities, fireworks, parades, picnics and speeches are abundant on July 4th across the United States. Two of the largest fireworks display are in the nation’s capital of Washington, DC and in New York City.

America’s National Independence Day Parade & Fireworks Display takes place annually on July 4th at 11:45 am in Washington, D.C., on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street before hundreds of thousands of spectators. The Parade consists of invited bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams, VIP’s, national dignitaries, and celebrity participants. This patriotic, flag-waving, red white and blue celebration is a major national event which draws the attention of Americans to the real meaning for the holiday. The Parade is co-hosted by the National Park Service and produced by Diversified Events. In addition to the parade, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall features different cultures in the Americas and a variety of ethnic groups. That evening is the PBS Concert at the Capitol Building featuring the National Symphony Orchestra and one of the country’s largest fireworks displays.

New York City 41st annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. The nation’s largest fireworks display takes place in New York City. This year’s festivities have a new location — in midtown along the east river — and will showcase a 25-minute display featuring never-before-seen shells and effects. If you are in the NY tri-state area, you can hear the musical score to which the show is choreographed by tuning in to radio station 1010 WINS-AM. Independence Day spectators from coast-to-coast can catch all the action in the sky by tuning to NBC’s two-hour national broadcast of “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” beginning at 8 p.m. ET (check local listings).

July Sparks Celebrations for Independence Days

Music is on the NYC agenda for July 4 festivities.

In addition to the pyrotechnic splendor, the 4th of July’s entertainment special will feature performances from the nation’s hottest musical acts. For fireworks and parade celebration in your city, state or town, check your local chamber of commerce or local government’s websites.

WORLD POPULATION DAY – July 11th is a day that focuses attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program recommended that 11 July be observed by the international community as World Population Day. This year’s theme: “Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations. According to the UN Population Fund (UNPF), access to safe, voluntary family planning is a human right. It’s also central to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and is a key factor in reducing poverty. Yet around the world, some 214 million women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy aren’t using safe and effective family planning methods, for a variety of reasons. Many of those with an unmet demand for contraceptives live in the poorest countries on earth. This year’s World Population Day coincides with the Family Planning Summit, the second meeting of the (Family Planning 2020 initiative (FP2020), which aims to expand access to voluntary family planning to 120 million additional women by 2020.

July sparks celebrations for independence days

Bastille Day, juillet de quatorze

BASTILLE DAY (France) – July 14th is the national Independence Day in France. Also known as le quatorze de juillet, France’s national holiday dates back to 1880. Under the rule of Louis XVI in 1789 the royal fortress of Bastille — a symbol of despotism — was attacked. The tide of patriotic fervour led to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. “Men are born free and remain free and equal in rights.” Originally called “Fête de la Fédération in 1790, le quatorze juillet celebrations became less popular under Napoleon. In 1880 July 14 was adopted as a national holiday and is celebrated annually — with the exception of the two world wars. 2017 brings celebrations across the country and the globe. In Paris, the traditional military parade begins at 11 a. m. with close to 4,000 soldiers, police officers, fire-fighters, including cadets of military academies rolling down Paris’ famed Champs-Elysées Avenue. The 14 juillet military parade is the oldest and claims to be the largest in Europe featuring the Garde Republicaine riding horses in traditional uniforms. The parade moves on close-order drills from place de l’Etoile to place de la Concorde. Music takes place at the renowned Eiffel Tower with a free concert on the Champs-de-Mars culminating with a grande 35 minute fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower. Beginning at sunset, 250 musicians of the National Orchestra of France and of the Radio France Choir serenade the sparkling Iron Lady with Mozart, Verdi, and Berlioz, and Wagner.

July sparks celebrations for independence days

Nelson Mandela. Photo: South Africa The Good News

NELSON MANDELA INTERNATIONAL DAY – JULY 18 each year celebrates Nelson Mandela International Day to spotlight the legacy of a great statesman, a fierce advocate for equality and the founding father of peace in South Africa. Nelson Mandela’s fierce determination and passionate advocacy for human rights and fundamental freedoms changed the 20th century and helped shape the 21st. His was a vision of humanity as one, of women and men united around their essential dignity, brought together by their shared aspirations for a better world. In times of turbulence, Nelson Mandela shows us the power of resisting oppression, of justice over inequality, of dignity over humiliation, of forgiveness over hatred.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela

Where ever you are in the world this July, you can find a reason to celebrate. – Abbe is #SociallySparked Tweet @sosparkednews & @asparks01