The day to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the birth of the nation, and the courage and persistence of those who made it possible, Independence Day has been celebrated on July 4 since 1776. Lovely summer weather, parades, fireworks, concert, picnics, Happy 4th of July greeting cards, and a perfect opportunity to enjoy time with friends and people we love is definitely among the most beloved occasions. Here we’ve got some fascinating facts that will be a nice conversation starter at your family barbecue.
There’s a point that we actually should celebrate July 2. Why? Having voted for independence on July 2, the Second Continental Congress declared that the thirteen states are no longer under the British rule. Historians have long pointed out that July 4 is the day when the document prepared by the Committee of Five was completed, formally dated and approved. So technically what we celebrate is the adoption of declaration, not the signing of it, which was mostly done on August 2. Nor Richard Henry Lee’s resolution of independence.
The first celebration occurred in 1777 with thirteen gunshots, political speeches, troop reviews, and parades. As you see, modern celebrations are pretty close to that original tradition, apart from huge bonfires that would seem not really eco-friendly today. In 1778, to mark this special day, George Washington gave his soldiers a double ration of rum. The holiday was recognized in Massachusetts in 1781 as a state celebration. The first ever July 4 party in the White House took place in 1801. Yet it was not until 1938 when it became a federal paid holiday.
The two iconic symbols of freedom and the USA – the 93-meter Statue of Liberty welcoming newcomers since 1886, and the Liberty Bell – are not American by birth. The former was a gift from France and represents the Roman goddess of freedom. July 4, 1776 is inscribed upon the tablet she holds. The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia was commissioned from London to mark the 50-year anniversary of the Charter of Privileges that was considered as the first Constitution of Pennsylvania for years. And by the way, there’s no proved theory concerning how come the bell was cracked.
In terms of festive table, it’s a rival to Christmas! Americans spent almost $7 billion on food in 2018. Over 150 million hot dogs are consumed throughout the country during the celebrations. The winner of Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest 2019 managed to eat 71 of them in 10 minutes. In New England people traditionally enjoy salmon paired with some green peas. This custom emerged due to abundance of this fish in rivers at this time of the year.
It’s hard to imagine the celebrations without fireworks today. There are about 15000 spectacular displays throughout the USA, with the largest one in New York. In 2019, they were shot from four barges in different spots of the Lower East River making it visible from many places.
Life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. These are at the core of the nation, and today they are often taken for granted. Yet it was all made possible by a small group of legendary men whose wisdom and action created history. So this day is much more than pigging out on hot dogs and partying with friends. Celebrate another anniversary of the United States with pride and patriotism, and remember how it all started.
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