History of Independence Day
As the name implies, the history of Independence Day is fraught with the struggle for independence. The history of the 4th of July is commemorated as America’s official political split with the mother country of Great Britain. On that day in 1776, the settlers of the thirteen British colonies were already embroiled in the midst of the American Revolutionary War. The bloody conflict, which had begun the year before, arose as the colonists became outraged by what they felt was unjust, and even illegal - taxation by the British government. Not only did Great Britain impose a series of highly unpopular taxes, but it refused to grant the colonies appropriate representation in the governing British Parliament.
By June 11, 1776, the settlers had enough. Colony leaders, which included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Robert R. Livingston, formed a special committee to compose a blueprint of the Declaration of Independence, one of America’s most important legal and historical documents. This manifesto officially decreed the United States’ self-liberation from Great Britain. The final version with which Americans are most familiar with was formally adopted by the committee on July 4th.
According to History.com, the first official observance of Independence Day took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 8th, 1776. The townspeople heard the Declaration of Independence read aloud, after which city bells rang and bands played to rejoice in the "new-found" freedom of the fledgling nation. Thus, a rich tradition of patriotism and love of liberty was born amongst the American people on that day.
In 1941, Independence Day was formally declared a national holiday in America.
Celebrating the 4th of July -- One Huge Birthday Bash!
To celebrate the 4th of July, one of America’s most important national holidays, millions of people shoot firearms into the air, hold spectacular fireworks displays, and sing the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” People gather together and party in backyards, on boats and at the beach. Many will munch on hamburgers and hot dogs embellished with tiny American flags on toothpicks. Baseball games, parades, grilling and 4th of July themed clothing are synonymous with the 4th.
Fireworks, Parades, Barbecue, Ice Cream
All come to mind when the Independence Day rolls around. July 4th is the one holiday in America that almost everyone celebrates. Taking advantage of the day off from work, many families attend picnics or host backyard parties bringing friends and family together. Grilling is traditional among foodies with favorite menus including ’barbecued’ anything, hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob and, of course, American apple pie – don’t forget the ice cream! With minimal planning and a lot of red, white, and blue, you can honor the founding of this great country and have a blast the process. So join in the fun with your colorful hats, waving flags and parades through the neighborhoods. And, a perfect end to the day - fireworks in the night sky!
July 4th - a day to remember and reflect on America’s most cherished values – freedom and liberty.
Don't Forget the Kids!
The 4th of July is a kid-friendly holiday. If you are hosting an Independence Day party, be sure to plan some activities and games for the kids. Here are some ideas:
Have the kids do the decorating. Provide red, white and blue balloons, streamers and ribbons along with tape to decorate the picnic tables and backyard structures. Or better yet, have the children decorate their bikes, tricycles, skateboards and wagons for a neighborhood parade.
Set up an activity table filled with red and blue markers or crayons and sheets of paper. Host a contest with prizes for creative patriotic artwork - or have them create American flags for waving. Use this opportunity to teach the children flag etiquette and how to properly wave Old Glory.
Rope off the driveway and set out sidewalk chalk. Have the children create a mural of red, white and blue for a patriotic display – a fun way to instill the spirit of the 4th in your children.
July 4th Gifts
Gifts for the 4th of July commonly include host/hostess gifts and favors for the guests. If you will be attending a 4th of July party, it is a thoughtful gesture to present the host/hostess with a thank you gift for hosting the event. Ideas might include patriotic decorations, t-shirts and gift baskets with an Independence Day theme. Gifts that bring back a little nostalgia – the good ‘ol days - are always a hit.
As for favors – think sparklers, little American flags, face paint for the kids, and candy. Favors are not just to remember the day, but can also be used for entertainment during the celebration – so don’t wait until the party is winding down to pass them out.
Independence Day of Other Countries
America is not the only country that celebrates an Independence Day. As an American territory, Puerto Rico celebrates America's independence, as well. Brazil celebrates Dia da Independência on September 7th to commemorate their independence from Portugal. Mexico celebrates Día de la Independencia, on September 16th for their independence from Spain.
- Everyday is a Holiday Calendar
- More Fun and Unique Holidays in July
- International Holidays
- 4th of July
- Tips for Planning a 4th of July Party