The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our country. But what does that really mean? The flag has come to represent many different things over time.
CELEBRATING OUR COUNTRY
The Fourth of July means different things to different individuals. It’s a day of traditional Americana type events. Parades, hot dogs, and fireworks. We hang with pride our American Flag and celebrate our freedom. The American Flag that stands for our collective patriotism. Americana.
What is Americana? We think of Baseball, Apple Pie, Hot Dogs, Cowboys, Folk Music, and denim. This Fourth of July instead of celebrating our country let’s breakdown Americana and its roots. The Oxford dictionary definition of Americana is: materials concerning or characteristic of America, its civilization, or its culture broadly : things typical of America
So, what is our culture? I feel this is the root of our current existential climate. Clashing between what is “American” vs. what is America. Being American seems to connotate someone who was born here and is predominantly white. But America is not just white or typically American. Being American to me means loving this country warts and all. Embracing your heritage while merging it with this so-called American culture. Apple pie made with twist. It’s called an empanada. Hot Dogs made with Brats, or the Polish version. A daily uniform of white tee and jeans, that was taken from the daily workwear of immigrants.
Americana in music is also rooted in the music of other lands. Gospel and Blues derive from the emancipation of the black experience. Bluegrass from the old world Irish and British folk music. Country from Mexican ranch music.
When we celebrate our American roots let’s celebrate the diversity and blend of all the wonderful cultures that created this country of ours. Add your own cultural meanings to the very “American” celebration. Happy Fourth!
WE ARE WHO WE ARE
The United States has been feeling pretty split in the past few years, but it is important to remember who we are. Almost every person living in the US brings a different experience, culture, and approach and when we all come together amazing things happen. For example, the Fourth of July is supposed to celebrate our country’s independence, and some fully lean into the American celebration. For most, it means celebrating the way we know how. I am half Mexican and when I am able to celebrate with them we have specific cultural ways of celebrating. For example, we always make chili con queso, charro beans, and the mezcal is always flowing.
Regardless of your family traditions, the basic idea of coming together and celebrating remains the same. We are proud of who we are, not just as Americans. It is the things that are distinctly un-American that get reinterpreted into something great. This is what Americana is.
Here is a chili con queso recipe from a cook from Texas so you know it will be pretty good. They shoutout the classic method which is made with velveeta, but we thought we share a more “real” recipe.
FOR YOUR REFERENCE
The following articles are all pieces on how American traditions pull from so many different cultures from all over the world. The United states is truly made up of a widely diverse mix of people who all bring something unique to the table.