Our national holiday in Germany-not a big deal?!?

4th of July in the USA-as my host family told me, “there is barely anything that is more typical for the US than our national holiday!”  I experienced a day on which everyone was dressed in the national colors and waved flags, lots of food was offered at picnics and a beautiful fireworks display was watched at night to finish the celebration of the national holiday. America’s birthday-the reason to celebrate like this in the USA.

 4th of July and the celebration of independence was a first-time experience for me. I’m from Germany and our national holiday is celebrated on October 3rd. It’s the German Unity Day. The day should encourage us to remember the past when our country was divided into the eastern and western part and was re-united in 1990. The event in history was a big deal and people were crying because of joy. However, the celebration of the day is not a big event and deal today-people usually don’t celebrate the national holiday. Everyone enjoys the day off from work or school but there are no fireworks, no picnics and almost no one shows the German colors. Maybe it is like this because of a lack of patriotism and nationalism that we have in Germany. The history of Germany makes it hard for many Germans to be proud of their own country. Nevertheless, our national holiday could and should be seen as an independence day too-finally people in the former eastern part also got the freedoms and rights of the western part and democracy followed socialism. Today all the Germans love and enjoy their unity and freedoms, freedoms that enable us to express our own opinions, to travel and live wherever we want, to decide by ourselves which job we would like to chose, to create our own lifestyle by ourselves-plenty of reasons to celebrate our national holiday. Hopefully more Germans will be aware of these reasons in the future! What does freedom mean to me? Freedom means to make my own decisions and to express my own opinion. I live life my way and go an individual path. People may give me advice, society as well as environment may influence my decisions, but at the end I am the one making the decisions. Freedom offers me the opportunity to travel and discover the world. Therefore, I get to know a new country and culture this year. I live in a foreign family, I speak a difference language, I meet people and friends from different parts of the world and make many first-time experiences. Not everything might be perfect, but that’s okay. I am the one who made and makes decisions. My life is my freedom-it’s my choice how I deal with it!