4th of July

4th of July: The 4th of July is essentially the Independence Day of the United States of America.

What is the 4th of July?

On 4th of July, the United States of America approved the Declaration of Independence. In effect, by accepting the Declaration, the United States of America declared their independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. The 4th of July is also termed as Fourth of July and in America, it is generally, but less popularly known as Independence Day. The Independence Day is also celebrated as the National Day of United States.

What is the historical significance of 4th of July?

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve ‘a resolution of independence’ which will legally separate the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain. This is considered as the historical moment when the Americans gained independence from Britain.

A committee known as the Committee of Five, which included Thomas Jefferson, had drawn up a declaration of independence. The Congress then debated the declaration, and eventually made some revisions to the wording. Thomas Jefferson is generally credited as a principal author of the Declaration.

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence and publicly announced its freedom from the Kingdom of Great Britain. This public announcement on the 4th, as opposed to the 2nd, is why the United States of America celebrates its Independence Day on the 4th of July, as opposed to the 2nd of July. July 4, 1776, is also the date inscribed on the top of the official Declaration of Independence.

What are some of the customs followed on 4th of July?

The 4th of July is a federal holiday; hence nearly all federal institutions are closed on the day. The day is often celebrated by organizing family gatherings which traditionally include barbeques or picnics. Decorations for these events are often in the shades of red, white and blue, which are the colors of the American flag.

Numerous parades, carnivals, fairs, concerts and baseball games are often organized on the day. These may include both public and privately organized events. Political speeches and ceremonies are also commonly organized. These speeches often talk about the American culture, perseverance, hard work of the founding fathers, as well as the American Dream. 

A notable feature of 4th of July is the fireworks display, which may consider a staple of the 4th of July celebrations. At times, these are preceded by a bonfire, which are often sites of gatherings and parties.

Many towns or regions have developed their own customs over the years. Some towns in New England compete with each other to build the biggest bonfires. One town has a history of baking ‘the world's largest cherry pie.’ Another town hosts an animal talent show and a pet parade, which may include real or imaginary pets. There are many other unique customs that have developed over the years.

What are some trivia and facts associated with the 4th of July?

  • The Second Continental Congress voted to approve the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
  • The Second Continental Congress voted to approve a ‘resolution of independence’ on July 2, 1776. Hence the legal separation of the United States of America from Great Britain occurred on July 2, not July 4.
  • As the ‘actual’ day of Independence was July 2, John Adams, one of the prominent founding members, refused invitations celebrating the 4th of July.
  • It is generally accepted by historians that the Declaration of Independence was actually signed on August 2, 1776, and not on the same day as it was voted for approval.
  • Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served at Presidents of America, died on July 4, 1826; the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.
  • U.S. President James Monroe died on July 4, 1831.
  • U.S. President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872, and is the only President to have been born on 4th of July.
  • The first recorded use of the term "Independence Day" to refer to the 4th of July was in 1791.
  • The U.S. Congress declared the 4th of July as an unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870.
  • The U.S. Congress declared the 4th of July as a paid holiday for federal employees in 1938.
  • The current traditions of 4th of July were started by Philadelphia, which in 1777 celebrated 4th of July with an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships on the rivers were decorated with red, white, and blue bunting.

What are some other holidays celebrated on 4th of July?

In addition to America’s Independence Day, the 4th of July is also known and celebrated as Christian Feast Day, corresponding to various saints.

Also, on 4th of July, 1946, The Philippines ceased being an U.S. territory. The United States officially recognized Philippines’ independence on 4th of July, especially because the date corresponds with the American Independence. Until 1962, the Philippines celebrated the 4th of July as its own Independence Day. Eventually, in 1964, the holiday was officially renamed as Republic Day

Furthermore, in Rwanda, 4th of July is celebrated as Liberation Day. The day commemorates the end of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. The date is also significant as the U.S. Government had played a role in the genocide. 

 

Image Courtesy: bleedingespresso.com, brutallyhonest.org

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