Updated: Jul 5
The first big 4th of July party took place on the one-year anniversary of independence, in 1777. It was "a spontaneous celebration" in Philadelphia, according to the Library of Congress.
As I spent time celebrating the 4th with my family yesterday, I started thinking about how long ago I actually learned about what this (and many other) holiday really means and how it came to be. So, in the same way I solve most of my questions, I took to google. Of course I found so many great informative resources and I quickly slipped down a deep, deep rabbit hole. To save you some time, I thought I would highlight some of the facts I came across. Things that I am embarrassed to not have known off the top of my head and some that I may have known had I actually needed to dig deep in the dark corners of my brain where most of my middle school and high school memories reside. Anyway, here are some important and interesting facts I thought I could share with you:
July 4 is a day for Americans to celebrate, embrace their patriotic spirit, and honor this country. It represents the first powerful step in our break from England.
It celebrates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced the political separation of the 13 North American colonies from Great Britain. The point was to become "our own sovereign nation: one ruled by the people, for the people."
We all know John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence in a grand fashion, but I had forgotten this anecdote: It is said that he signed his name "with a great flourish" so England's "King George can read that without spectacles!"
John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”
In Fourth of July celebrations, fireworks signify national pride and patriotism. They had been used in China since at least the 12th century, and in the 15th century they became popular with European monarchs as a way to celebrate national triumphs, the restoration of peace, and the monarchs’ own birthdays. Fireworks have been part of Independence Day in the United States since its first celebration, in 1777.
Observances of the 4th "only became commonplace after the War of 1812," according to the Library of Congress. "By the 1870s, the Fourth of July was the most important secular holiday on the calendar."
According to an article Published by Statista Research Department, Jul 27, 2022, The Fourth of July is the most popular U.S. holiday for grilling out/throwing barbecue parties.