Today’s Indepence Day! The 4th of July or July 4th is one of the nation’s most important and celebrated holidays, with many festivities thrown all over the country by people who want to participate in the historic traditions that commemorate this special patriotic date.
However, although we all celebrate this day, we thought it would be interesting to learn a little more about the history of our independence. Want to learn some interesting facts about July 4th you probably haven’t heard before? Keep reading!
The Vote for Indepence Was Actually Cast on July 2nd
It was on July 2nd, 1776 that the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence in a near-unanimous vote. At first, the New York delegation abstained but later voted in favor of independence as well.
On that day, John Adams (the first Vice President of the United States and the second President) wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade… Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”
So most of the celebrations we do today are thanks to him!
But it was formerly adopted on July 4
It was two days later, on July 4th, when the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence. The delegates from the 13 colonies signed the historic document that was mostly written by Thomas Jefferson.
Since then to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday
Even though July 4th was celebrated since the moment it happened, it wasn’t until 1870 when the U.S. Congress made July 4th an official federal holiday. Then, as recently as 1941, they decided that it should be a paid holiday for all federal employees remaining to this day.
Celebrations have changed over the years
During the summer of 1776 some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, as a way of symbolizing the end of the British monarchy’s hold on America and the triumph of liberty. Rough celebrations!
Some of the first Festivities included concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets accompanied by the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption.
Two years later, in 1779, George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence.
To celebrate, John Adams probably ate turtle soup, a Summer delicacy at the time. Weird? Yes. Maybe that’s why later on, the soup was replaced with roasted pig, which is probably why today we eat hot dogs! How things evolve.
Speaking of Hot Dogs…
As we all know, Summer is the biggest time for hot dogs, burgers, and outdoor barbecues in general. What you might not now is that according to the National Sausage and Hot Dog Council (yes, there is one!) Americans are estimated to consume 155 million hot dogs just during July 4th, which makes it the greatest hot dog eating holiday of the year!
What are your 4th of July traditions? Where are you hanging out today? Do you have any other favorite celebrations? Let us know what you think by tagging us on Instagram @glamandgowns, and Faviana’s Instagram @Faviana_NY and Twitter @FavianaNY.