The other day when I was in a mall with Ryan I saw mall employees putting up bunting in India's colors. I screwed up my brow and turned to Ryan.
"Why are they putting that up? I thought your Independence Day was in August?"
"Okay. I just thought your Independence Day was in August. It is, isn't it?"
"Yes. This is Republic Day. They're different."
"Oh yeah, that's fine. We have other national type holidays too besides Independence Day, like Memorial Day and stuff. What is Republic Day?"
"It's um, well it's not as much about celebrating independence as celebrating the Constitution."
And a few days later (during which I found out that Republic Day is January 26th) I asked Ryan:
"So what do people do for Republic Day?"
"Pretty much what they do for the Fourth of July in America." (And he lived in the US for six years, so he should know.)
"Okay. So fireworks?"
"Well, no. So like Fourth of July except fireworks." That was a surprise because it seems to me Indians celebrate everything with fireworks. I don't think a week has gone by without fireworks going off because of something: a wedding, a Hindu festival, etc.
"So barbecues and picnics?"
"Not barbecues... maybe picnics," he said doubtfully.
So... I'm not sure what a Fourth of July without fireworks, barbecues or maybe picnics looks like, but that's Republic Day!
And it turns out terrorists have attacked on it before, so most of the roads are shut down and Ryan's family has deemed it not a day to go anywhere. So housecleaning and budget planning are the agendas for the day....
Happy Republic Day, everyone!