Independence Day, the Fourth of July, is the National Day of the United States of America. The holiday falls on a Monday this year, giving many Americans a three-day holiday weekend. July Fourth is a federal holiday in all 50 states and other US territories. It is incredibly significant in American history, as it marks the day the United States officially became an independent nation.
History of Independence Day
On July 4, 1776, the United States of America proclaimed its independence from England by signing the Declaration of Independence. While the signing of the Declaration itself was not completed until August, the Fourth of July holiday is seen as the official anniversary of U.S. independence. Although Philadelphians marked the first anniversary of independence in 1777 with spontaneous celebrations in the streets of Philadelphia, the first recorded use of the name "Independence Day" wasn't until 1791 and Independence Day celebrations only became common after the War of 1812.
4th of July Traditions
Independence Day is the most patriotic and enthusiastically celebrated of all America's holidays. Many modern Independence Day traditions stem from America’s early independence celebrations. People would attend bonfires, concerts, and parades to celebrate their new nation. It was also common for the Declaration of Independence to be read aloud, followed by muskets and cannons firing.
1. Fireworks. Whether you buy your own fireworks or watch a local fireworks display, lighting fireworks is a long-standing tradition for Americans on the 4th of July. Many people love to celebrate Independence Day with a bang!
2. Sparklers. These hand-held fireworks are family favorites during the 4th of July. The colored flames and sparks help light up the area on America’s birthday.
3. Parades. The community gathers to march in the streets to celebrate Independence Day. You’ll see floats, music, and a whole lot of red, white, and blue! 4th of July parades can also be followed by festivals, carnivals, or fairs that provide yummy food, fun rides, and other family-friendly activities.
4. Travel. Many Americans plan getaways to celebrate Independence Day. They tend to head to the lake or ocean, or go camping, to have some fun in honor of America. If you’re looking to plan a trip, you can’t go wrong with these 4th of July weekend getaways.
5. Backyard celebrations. You can’t have a barbecue without some backyard fun! Many people compete in backyard games while celebrating America’s independence (patriotic cornhole, anyone?). If the barbecue gets rained out, don’t worry—there are plenty of 4th of July games to play indoors too.
6. Creating patriotic crafts. This activity is perfect for the DIY-er looking to deck out their home for Independence Day, or for kids at a barbecue. People love creating 4th of July crafts to honor America’s birthday, from flag-themed decorations to red, white, and blue pinwheels.
"May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right." Peter Marshall
About the Author
Rabih Hamawi is a principal at the Law Office of Rabih Hamawi, P.C. and focuses his practice on representing policyholders in fire, property damage, and insurance-coverage disputes against insurance companies and in errors-and-omissions cases against insurance agents. He may be reached at (248) 905-1133.