For Frances Rao, an American who has been living in Bangalore for the past 20 years, this year Fourth of July, the American Independence Day will be a get together with family and friends.
Living away from homes, Americans in Bangalore have not lost their enthusiasm for the big day. “I am organising a small party at home and calling my friends over. Every year we have a potluck dinner, but this year we are having a barbeque.”
“Back home, we used to invite friends and family and burst firecrackers,” she says recalling her days in America. She further added that the Fourth of July is mostly a family day for Americans. Small towns also hold parades. So does she miss her home and family on festivals? “I have been living here for 20 years now. So, Bangalore is home,” she says.
With American delicacies like apple pie, roasted ham, sugar-baked sweet potatoes, spicy beef stew and bacon sandwich, Fourth of July is surely a day to celebrate. However, 28-year-old Virginia begs to differ. “I have been living in Bangalore for the past 6 years, but don’t really celebrate Fourth of July. Back home in West Virginia I used to get together with my family and go camping to a lake and have a barbeque. But here that is not possible,” she says.
For Virginia Fourth of July is a day to celebrate freedom. She feels that people should celebrate freedom in their own little way everyday. She believes that having a party or doing something special is not what the festival is about. The day is about believing in freedom.
“I don’t say that we shouldn’t have this holiday. These holidays are important as these are the days when people come together and spend quality time with their families. I personally love the Fourth of July as I love my freedom and hate it when someone encroaches my personal space,” she says.
This year, the Indo- American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) is holding a Golf Tournament for US and Indian company heads on July 8 as it is a weekend.
“We have not planned anything for today as most people want to spend this day with their families. On July 8, we are holding a golf tournament in the morning followed by an evening of awards, cocktails, dinner and music,” said an official from IACC.
For Indian professionals who are working in the city with American companies, it is a day to rejoice as they get a holiday in the middle of the week. “The day as such does not hold any significance for me, but I will be celebrating with my friends over dinner and drinks,” says Aditya Surya Prakash, an employee of The Northern Trust Bank. So what is namma Bangalore doing to bring in the big day?
“A lot of Americans will be hosting barbeque parties, brunches and dinner at their homes. Some cafes and restaurants are also having small parties and some have organised special lunches and dinners,” says Viren Khanna, Mentor, Bangalore Expat Club.