Me: “Do you have any festivals and or holidays that you participate in?”
NO: “I can talk about the Fourth of July. Fourth of July is a commercialized holiday within American culture that is usually practiced to celebrate the birthday of America. Although each family and household celebrates differently, my family usually goes to a parade, located in my city’s downtown, where we watch fireworks, eat typical traditional American foods (hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips, and beer), and pop our own fireworks.”
Me: “Do you think Fourth of July involves any type of rituals?”
NO: “um, I don’t know, I mean the only thing I can think of is the idea that within the days and weeks leading up to Fourth of July, it is normal to hear fireworks popping during the night. It’s a way to show one’s excitement for the huge upcoming holiday as many Americans take it very seriously depending on how patriotic they are. My grandpa also usually hangs up the American flag before the start of our family get together and we typically say the Pledge of Allegiance before we begin eating and celebrating; it’s a way to show respect and to salute our country.”
Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):
-NO’s relationship within the Fourth of July stems from her Mexican-American culture. Considering that NO is both Mexican and American, her relationship within this holiday stems from her own patriotic beliefs and the appreciation that she emits despite being only half American. NO has heard about this holiday all her life as she has always been exposed to the commercialized store displays, the American culture excitement, and the various parties that she would always go to as a child and as a young adult. NO interprets this holiday as a reminder of the other half of herself. Given that she was born in America, although she has Mexican parents, she values the fact that she is living within a country that can grant her so much in terms of education, stability, and comfort. NO sees this holiday as a representation of who she is and how connected a community can be.
Analysis(what kind of personal, cultural, or historical values might be expressed) YOUR interpretation:
-The cultural values that are embedded with the Fourth of July are the stereotypical lifestyle values that indicate American culture; this can be seen within typical stereotypical American food (hotdogs, hamburgers, potato chips, and beer) and the patriotic involvement within firework shows, picnics, and commercialized window displays within retail stores. The personal values that are expressed within this holiday is the amount of patriotism that one individual chooses to express. This can be seen within the patriotic clothing that people choose to wear as American culture is evident of wearing anything blue, red, or white, as they dress up for the occasion. This can be seen as one’s overall value of commitment considering one can make the decision to choose to dress up and portray themselves in Fourth of July’s “costume” or not. I interpret this holiday as a community building celebration where unity can be found. I see this holiday as a way to come together as a society and enjoy the moment where people are on the same page. Given the fact that I do celebrate this holiday, I believe that dressing up in red, white, and blue showcases festivity, patriotism, and a way to join together in unity and harmony as a way to celebrate what we all have in common. Within this holiday, the concept of a gloss coating washing over festivals, traditions, and holidays, introduced by Gregory the First, a European Pope, can be seen given the fact that this holiday is celebrated by many citizens of America despite the fact that not everyone in the country is as involved, up to date, and knowledgeable about American politics or news; this signifies that a gloss coating is placed upon Fourth of July as a way to commercialize the holiday and make it seem that it’s solely about hamburgers, beer, and fireworks as opposed to the birthday of America. A holiday that is similar to Fourth of July is Cinco de Mayo (May 5), a traditional Mexican holiday that is celebrated to give remembrance of the Mexican victory over the French Empire. Usually, in American society you can see various individuals using the 5th of May as an excuse to drink and party; this stems from the commercialized notion behind the holiday, much similar to how Fourth of July is viewed as.