July 4 – Fourth of July in U.S. Territories

Posted on July 4, 2016

Of course, it's the fourth of July everywhere that uses the Gregorian calendar (and every nation in the world has to use the Gregorian calendar to some extent, even the five who haven't officially adopted it) – but the Fourth of July is a holiday in the United States.

I got to wondering – is it also a holiday in the United States Territories?

Yes...and no. And to some extent there is unhappiness for at least some residents about the irony of celebrating independence when their own territories are themselves denied independence.

In Guam, there are beach parties, picnics, fireworks, and American flags. But the people of Guam are denied meaningful representation in the U.S. federal government, since they have only one non-voting delegate in the House and don't participate in the Presidential election. Some people of Guam urge commonwealth status, statehood, or the merging with other territories or with Hawaii....or of course independence! So far, the U.S. government has rejected proposals.

In Puerto Rico, those who want statehood tend to celebrate the Fourth with music, food, and fireworks. But some people want Puerto Rico to become fully independent, and they tend to celebrate other holidays instead. Since most workers have the day off, though, beaches and other tourist destinations are crowded with families having fun together.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, one of the islands (Saint John) has a month-long carnival that ends on the Fourth of July. There are Calypso musicians, parades, the crowning of Ms. St. John and the Carnival King, and big fireworks displays.

Some aspects of St. John's Fourth is typical U.S. stuff (like above),
but other aspects is more typical of Caribbean and Carnival (like below).

In American Samoa, people have the day and do typical day-off kinds of things, like resting or recreating or getting together. But there isn't much in the way of parties, celebrations, or fireworks.

Finally, in the Northern Marianas, the week-long Liberation Day Festival ends on the Fourth of July. There is a parade with floats (like the one seen here), a beauty pageant, entertainment, and carnival-like booths for food and games.

Check out some gorgeous photos of these five territories:

(Above and below) American Samoa 

(Above and below) Guam

(Above and below) Northern Marianas 
(Above and below) Puerto Rico

(Above and below) U.S. Virgin Islands

Also on this date:

Fourth of July

Independence Day in the USA

Astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt's birthday

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