Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, has been celebrated as the birth of American independence since July 4, 1776.
In 1941 the 4th of July, Independence Day, was designated a federal holiday in the United States of America. However, the tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the 1700’s and the American Revolution (hostilities continued from the first shots fired in 1775 to liberation in 1783). In June of 1776, representative of the 13 original colonies then fighting in the revolutionary war considered a document that would declare their independence from the English Empire. On July 2nd, members of the Continental Congress voted in favour of independence. Two days later, on July 4th, the delegates signed what is now known as the Declaration of Independence, a document written by Thomas Jefferson.
The delegates showed great courage in signing the Declaration of Independence. Had America lost the revolution, the signers would have been hung for treason. Benjamin Franklin commented, “we must all hang together or we will surely hang separately”.
Typical festivities include picnics, outdoor concerts, parades, fireworks, casual family gatherings and barbecues.
Fireworks are the most popular symbol of Independence Day. Nearly every city, town, village and suburb puts on a fireworks display for its residents and visitors. The fireworks, often follow an outdoor concert with appropriate music, the 1812 overture for example, playing as the fireworks are set off. Look for them after dark on the evenings of July 3 and July 4. Locations are generally published in newspapers and online.
Communities often sponsor a parade on the 4th of July. Children participate by marching or riding their bicycles. The bicycles, festively decorated with red, white and blue crepe paper streamers on the tires and handlebars, make a pretty sight.
Families gather for the holiday. Picnic suppers in the park or a barbecue at home are traditional. Beer, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, coleslaw and apple pie are typical menus.
Attend an outdoor concert on the 4th of July. Arrange for a picnic basket with light food, a bottle of wine, a thermos of coffee, a blanket and a candle. Arrive early to enjoy your food, then relax and listen to the music. Expect your evening to end with a bang as the fireworks are set off.