Every American loves to celebrate the Fourth of July...fireworks, cookouts, and patriotism at it's best. But what does it all mean?
July 4th is also known as American Independence Day. It celebrates the birth of the United States. If you want to be specific, the date commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776. This is when the thirteen colonies declared independence from England.
Did you know that the adoption was not unanimous?! New York abstained from voting, Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted no, and Delaware was divided!
The Declaration was first printed in a newspaper on July 6, 1776, and then read for the first time on July 8, 1776. The signing began on August 2, 1776, and it wasn’t finished until several weeks later.
The first celebration of the Declaration occurred in Philadelphia the next year, in 1777. Bells rang, cannons boomed and there were bonfires and fireworks. At night, Philadelphians placed lighted candles in their windows.
In following years, the celebrations spread, and as Americans moved westward, they took their traditions with them. Parades began! Parades included local dignitaries, the military and representatives of businesses and organizations. Races and games were held, orations were delivered, fireworks were set off, and food was eaten.
A few other interesting facts about the Fourth of July: