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July 5, 2012 at 4:53 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

Independence Day Musings - The 4th of July is Really Kinda Weird

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This Author

Hello and welcome(back) to Id and Ego - the psychology blog for psychology nerds.

This week:...well, yesterday really, I did what all the good, patriotic Americans were doing - I went to see the fireworks. I never really realized how odd the tradition was until then.

This isn't really my usual Id and Ego style, but I found the psychology amusing enough to warrant sharing - so here goes.

Going to see fireworks is a really odd thing.

There's 100's of strangers congregating together, laying or sitting next to each other. They're both people-watching and pretending they don't see the mass of strangers around them.

You wait in anticipation for an hour on average for something that lasts maybe half an hour tops and yet, you're constantly anticipating the end of the show ("was that it?"... "oh, here it goes!"... "wait"..."this has GOT to be it!"... "how long is this thing anyway"....)

People are clapping and making stupidly, obvious comments ("Ooooohh!" "That's pretty!" "A smiley!" " Look - it's a spiraly one!") and you find, despite rolling your eyes at them, you're doing it too. And then, with great clapping and banging and light, it's finally over.

You pack like mad and and you walk to your car with that same crowd of people who you feel a little like you've bonded with somehow and you like when you recognize particulars, but then, you don't actually know any of them.

And that's the 4th of July.

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1 Comment

  • Did you see San Diego's firework display? 3 barges were all setup to display a fireworks show in 3 different parts of the city but an electronic malfunction caused every single firework to touch off at the same creating massive balls of FIRE in the sky for like 15 seconds. worth watching:

    Also! If you are going to make a holiday, why wouldn't it revolve around lighting things on fire and launching them into the sky where they then detonate into a fiery ball of awesomeness? I think that everyone is actually as obsessed with fire as me they just don't show it!!! *eye twitch*

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