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The Fourth of July (Independence Day)


The Fourth of July is a federal holiday commonly known as Independence Day that has been commemorated in the United States since 1941. However, the tradition of Independence Day celebration dates back to the 18th century (240 years ago) and the Am...Read More


~Posted on Jan 2019

The Fourth of July (Independence Day)

The Fourth of July is a federal holiday commonly ...

The Fourth of July is a federal holiday commonly known as Independence Day that has been commemorated in the United States since 1941. However, the tradition of Independence Day celebration dates back to the 18th century (240 years ago) and the American Revolution of 1775 to 1783.  In June 1776, representatives of the thirteen colonies that were then fighting in the revolutionary struggle were able to weigh a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress only two days after they voted for independence. This historic document was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. It declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer part of the British Empire and would regard themselves as a new nation called the United States of America. Since then until the present day, July 4th is celebrated each year to commemorate this historic event that marked the birth of American independence. The celebration is commonly associated with concerts, parades, barbecues, picnics, fireworks, carnivals, family reunions, barbecues, fairs, and baseball games. In addition to a myriad of other private and public events that celebrate the traditions, government and history of the United States, the day is also graced with political speeches and ceremonies. Independence Day is also the National Day of the United States[1].

In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists would hold annual celebrations of the king’s birthday which traditionally would include processions, bonfires, speechmaking and ringing of bells. By contrast, some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III to symbolize the triumph of liberty and the end of the monarchy’s hold on the United States. The Declaration of Independence's first public readings that began immediately after its adoption were accompanied by festivities including parades, bonfires, concerts, and firing of muskets and cannons. While the Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war, Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration on 4th of July, 1777. To celebrate the anniversary of independence in 1778 and 1781, George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers. This was few months before the crucial American victory at Yorktown. Massachusetts became the first state to make 4th of July an official state holiday. After the Revolutionary War, Americans would continue to commemorate Independence Day annually in a celebration that would allow the emerging political leaders of the new nation to create a feeling of unity and address citizens. The two major political parties that had risen-Democratic Republicans and Federalists began holding separate Independence Day celebrations in numerous large cities by the last decade of the 18th century.

The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more popular after the war of 1812 in which the United States and Great Britain faced each other again. In 1870, the United States Congress made July 4th a federal holiday. This provision was later expanded in 1941 to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees. The political importance of this big day would decline over the years, but it would still remain a symbol of patriotism and a very significant national holiday. Falling in mid-summer, the Fourth of July has become a major focus of various leisure activities and a common occasion for family gatherings, often involving outdoor barbecues and fireworks. The most common symbol of the holiday is the United States flag and a musical accompaniment known as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” playing the national anthem of the United States [2]

While the actual events and celebrations have changed over the years, the basic customs remain the same. People decorate houses in colors of the American flag (red, white and blue), get together in large groups, and cook a large meal as they wait for evening to fall so that they can see the fireworks. The only things that have changed are the type of fireworks we participate in and the kind of food that we eat. In the olden days, the food eaten was more of a sit-down meal while today it’s very informal. Also, the current fireworks now are far better than the 13-gun salute or cannons firing into the air. All in all, it doesn’t matter how the event is celebrated because what is important is celebrating the independence from Great Britain’s rule and honoring the founding fathers who worked hard to make a nation[3].

 



 

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