The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, on July 4, 1776. For Americans, this day represents the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

What many people may not know is that technically, the Thirteen Colonies separated from Great Britain two days earlier, on July 2, 1776. And that is when the vote also took place to approve a resolution of independence. But the Declaration of Independence wasn’t officially formally adopted by Congress until 2 days later, July 4, 1776.

Today, the Fourth of July is one of the most important holidays celebrated in the United States and is usually celebrated with lots of outside activities. Traditional festivities include: parades, waving American flags, watching fireworks shows, having block parties, and grilling. People also decorate parties with the colors red, white and blue, and dress in the patriotic colors, too. In addition, firework shows are usually paired with patriotic songs such as “This Land is Your Land,” “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” “America the Beautiful,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” “God Bless America,” “Yankee Doodle” and more. Believe it or not, the Fourth of July is also great for the country’s travel industry, as it is normally one of the busiest travel times of year.

In early years, the Fourth of July was celebrated very differently than it is today. According to Wikipedia, in 1777, in Philadelphia, 13 gunshots were fired in salute once in the morning and once again in the evening. In 1778, General George Washington marked the day with an artillery salute. In 1779, when July 4th fell on a Sunday, the holiday was instead celebrated on Monday, July 5. It wasn’t until 1870 that the United States Congress declared Independence Day as an unpaid holiday for federal employees; in 1938, Congress changed it to being a paid federal holiday.

What are some of your 4th of July traditions?

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