heading-top-line

The Meaning of the July 4th Holiday

heading-top-line

Why do we celebrate the 4th of July.  We do we invite friends and family over, cook out, eat too much food and watch fireworks?  Why do we sit out in the heat (usually) and watch parades?  Why do we decorate in red, white and blue everything from cakes to ourselves?  Who started all of the hooplah?  Well, here’s a little bit of history for the history buffs out there.

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (now officially known as the United Kingdom). Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.

Observances in History

  • In 1777, thirteen gunshots were fired in salute, once at morning and once again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships were decked with red, white, and blue bunting.
  • In 1778, General George Washington marked July 4 with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute. Across the Atlantic Ocean, ambassadors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin held a dinner for their fellow Americans in Paris, France.
  • In 1779, July 4th fell on a Sunday. The holiday was celebrated on Monday, July 5.
  • In 1781 the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4th as a state celebration.
  • In 1783, Moravians in Salem, North Carolina, held a celebration of July 4 with a challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter. This work was titled “The Psalm of Joy.” This is recognized as the first recorded celebration and is still celebrated there today.
  • In 1791 the first recorded use of the name “Independence Day” occurred.
  • In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.
  • In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.

Currently, Independence Day is a national holiday marked by patriotic displays. Similar to other summer-themed events, Independence Day celebrations often take place outdoors. Independence Day is a federal holiday, so all non-essential federal institutions (like the postal service and federal courts) are closed on that day. Many politicians make it a point on this day to appear at a public event to praise the nation’s heritage, laws, history, society, and people.

Families often celebrate Independence Day by hosting or attending a picnic or barbecue and take advantage of the day off and, in some years, long weekend to gather with relatives. Decorations (e.g., streamers, balloons, and clothing) are generally colored red, white, and blue, the colors of the American flag. Parades are often in the morning, while fireworks displays occur in the evening at such places as parks, fairgrounds, or town squares.

So, to continue the patriotism that was founded by our forefathers, Have a safe and Happy 4th of July.

Information in this blog post was found in Wikipedia.

July 4, 2014

Not sure who to contact?