By The Prophet of Life
It’s the 4th of July, have a picnic or a BBQ, watch some fireworks, enjoy a day off from work. That’s not how it has always been. The Fourth of July is also called independence day. While most nations celebrate their independence day on the date of a major battle or the date their oppressors surrendered, the U.S. celebrates their independence day on the day they declared it. Actual independence was achieved until more than 7 years later in September of 1783 when the Treaty of Paris gave the U.S. its independence.
Origins of 4th of July Traditions
Before America declared its independence, it was traditional in America, a British colony, to celebrate the birthday of the British monarch. Activities for these celebrations included bonfires, the ringing of bells, processions and speech making. During the actual revolutionary war, patriots designed early independence day celebrations to mock these traditions. They held mock funerals for Britain’s George III symbolizing the end of the monarchs hold on America. Celebrations included concerts, bonfires, parades, the firing of muskets and cannons and the reading of The Declaration of Independence the document where American leaders formally declared their nation’s independence from Britain.
After the U.S. gained its independence, celebrations in major cities added speeches by political leaders emphasizing unity. in the early 1800’s when the u.S. government began the two party system, each political party held a different celebration. When the War of 1812 came along, it once again highlighted the need for unity. Francis Scott Key, a prominent lawyer and budding songwriter was inspired by the bombing of fort McHenry in Baltimore MD to write the American National Anthem The Star Spangled Banner. Fireworks are meant to symbolize the bombs bursting in air over Fort McHenry in The Star Spangled Banner.
Other Facts About The 4th of July
American Independence Day, set at The Fourth of July was made a federal holiday in 1870. In 1941, Congress made it a paid holiday for federal employees. On July 4th 1826, exactly 50 years from the day the Declaration of Independence was signed, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the only two men who signed it and later became U.S. Presidents died. Many military bases celebrate Independence Day by having a 50 gun salute to the nations at noon. Each gun fired off in the salute represents one of the fifty states in the union.
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