What is the 4th of July?
National parades, fireworks, huge discounts, and the classic red-blue-white color combinations that adorn the streets and houses are what mark the 4th of July. If you are a Non-American and are interested in knowing about the significance of the 4th of July, then you have come to the right place.
The 4th of July is a significant public and national holiday for the American population. The reason is that it marks the birth of the country’s independence and transition into a national state. The American Independence Day’s significance is similar to how countries like India and Pakistan celebrate with fireworks and decorations in the flag’s national colors.
But, how was the holiday decreed to the 4th of July?
The Beginnings of American Independence
America’s Independence did come at a great cost and struggle. Officially this day has been a federal holiday since 1941, but the 4th of July celebrations date back to the American Revolution and the 1700s era.
It was during the American Revolution that 13 colonies were separated under the reign of British colonialism in 1776. However, the event occurred two days before the official celebration date that is considered today. The Second Continental Congress (a meeting of representatives from the 13 colonies) voted to have a resolution of Independence stating that the colonies were no longer under British rule. This statement was proposed by American statesmen Richard Henry.
The Declaration of Independence was passed forward to the Congress, which gave their decision on the 4th of July. However, historians have a lot of disputes regarding the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Many believed that the Declaration was signed a month later, on the 2nd of August, and not on the 2nd of July.
So by that count, the 4th of July should have been the 2nd of August, but we will never truly know for sure.
Historical Celebrations on the 4th of July
Before the American Revolution took place, the colonists would hold a yearly celebration for the King’s birthday. This celebration would consist of bells ringing, processions, formal speeches, and bonfires.
However, in contrast, to post American Revolution, the celebrations took a 180-degree turn. Now the 13 free colonies would celebrate by holding a fake funeral of King George III to state the end of monarchy and the beginning of American freedom.
After the Declaration of Independence was passed, the earliest festivities included activities like concerts, parades, canons, muskets, and bonfires. It also comprised of having a reading of the Declaration of Independence document to remember the importance of this event. It sounds kind of similar to how you would look back at old pictures to reminiscence the memories or when you would post an Instagram story as a memory from previous years.
Philadelphia was the first state commemorated on the 4th of July in the first year after Independence while Congress was still involved in the war. This year, the first fireworks celebration became an integral part of the 4th of July celebrations. With ship’s cannon firing 13 gun salutes to tribute to the 13 colonies that became independent.
In the following years, George Washington had given orders or double rum rations to the army to celebrate American Independence. However, it was Massachusetts who made this day an official holiday. This tradition became even more widespread after the 1812 War with Great Britain.
Modern Celebrations of the 4th of July
The modern celebrations of Independence Day are treated like a summer season celebration which means the activities and festivities are performed outdoors. American presidents and prime ministers have made it a point to make a public appearance in the current years. They would deliver a patriotic and heart-felt speech reminiscing the struggle of obtaining Independence, history, laws, and the future for the country.
Families would gather to have 4th of July feasts and house parties with a barbeque as the main attraction. Since it results in a long weekend, many families take advantage of this holiday by going on a trip or meeting distant relatives and friends. Most of the 4th of July decorations (Amazon ASIN #B091JWHPZ3) include tinsel foil curtains (Amazon ASIN #B08Y2XY3NK) and indoor string lights (Amazon ASIN #B09228LSTQ). Other decorations include party poppers, balloons, streamers, and clothing, all in the national colors of red, blue, and white to depict the American flag.
If you live in the United States of America, you would have witnessed parades happening in the morning, followed by family get-togethers over a barbeque or a picnic, and a night full of fireworks in parks, town squares, and fairgrounds. With fireworks, patriotic songs are played as well, such as ‘America the Beautiful, ‘God Bless America’, and ‘This Land is your Land’.
Brands have also jumped onto the bandwagon by introducing limited edition products based on 4th of July colors or themes. Supermarket stores like Walmart or Target would bring in huge discounts for 24 hours on the 4th of July, similar to those found on a Black Friday. People rush to check websites for brands like Samsung and Apple that have their more expensive products at a discount or have a juicy deal going on only for that day.
Our Final Thoughts
The 4th of July is an important historical event and a federal holiday for Americans. It is all about celebrating their heritage and the birth of the United States of America after freeing the 13 colonies from British colonialism. Believe it or not, this federal holiday is taken as a three-day holiday by Americans to relax and unwind from the daily grind while enjoying the city-wide festivities. You can’t forget to watch the famous Macy’s fireworks displayed and covered on national television since 1976.
So for those celebrating the 4th of July in the United States of America or anywhere in the world, we wish you a Happy Independence Day!