Why We Celebrate the Fourth of July the Way We Do

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Kate K. of www.disneykate.com

July 4th marks the birthday of our nation and whether you were in Orlando or in Washington D.C. there are some things that our celebrations share across the entirety of these United States of America. Why do we do some of the things we do when we celebrate the Fourth of July? Here are 5 common ways that we celebrate and the reasons why we do them.

5. Why do we use fireworks to celebrate our nation’s birthday?

Fireworks are one of the mainstays our or nations celebrations. Whether its the simple joy of burning a few sparklers in the yard or standing in a crowd marveling at the spectacles in the sky, they are beloved by so many of us. But why do we use fireworks in our celebrations? The Simplest answers is: that’s what we’ve always done. One year after the official declaration of Independence there was a celebration in the streets of Philadelphia. As our nations capital it set the stage for all celebrations to follow. There was a grand parade and fireworks lit up the sky in a display of Red White and Blue. From that celebration forward we have used those brilliant displays in the sky to celebrate the birth of our independent nation5.

4. When did the Fourth become a National Holiday?

We’ve been celebrating the Fourth of July since 1777, however it didn’t become a national holiday until 1870. Why did it take that long? Well, believe it or not, the Fourth of July was one of the first official National Holidays adopted by the United States of America. In 1870 congress passed a bill that adopted holidays like the Fourth, Christmas Day and New Years day as federally recognized holidays4.

3. Why the Red the White and the Blue?

The American Flag

While an official definition of the colors of the flag weren’t given in 1777 when the Old Glory was adopted as our nations flag, there are very specific reasons for each of the colors chosen: “White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, […] signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.3” Those three colors signify all that made our nation great. The purity and innocence of a new nation with all the hopes and dreams of the futures just beyond the horizon. The valor and hardness of a nation born of fire and sacrifice. And the vigilance, perseverance and justice that has upheld the new nation in the centuries and decades since its birth. So next time you see our flag, or even the red white and blue bursting in the sky, remember that those colors mean more than pretty pigments that compliment each other. They represent our nation for what it was and what it can be.

2. When did we start to sing the National Anthem?

One of my favorite parts of any Fourth of July celebration are the songs that accompany the fireworks. From the old patriotic classics to some of the more modern tunes there’s nothing like having a crowd sing along. One of my favorites, of course, is the national anthem. For those of you who are students of History, you may know that the National Anthem wasn’t written in 1776, in fact it wasn’t written until 1814. We didn’t begin to use the anthem until it was adopted by congress in 1931. So even though this has become an integral part of our celebrations its one of the newer additions. One that we have been singing for years and will continue to sing for years to come2.

1. Why do we celebrate on the 4th of July?

Historically speaking, the 4th of July wasn’t the date the founding fathers planned for our nations birthday. During the second continental congress the voted to declare our independence. And they day that they passed the vote…July 2nd. So then why do we celebrate on the 4th of July then? We celebrate the 4th of July because that was the day that the official Declaration of Independence was approved making the vote cast on the 2nd of July an official act of Congress. Even so, celebrating on the Fourth wasn’t something that appealed to everyone. John Adams (founding father and our second President) was adamantly against celebrating on the 4th saying that it was the second that marked our official break from tyranny. However, the official Declaration of Independence was such an integral part of the formation of our nation that its creation date is now synonymous with the official birth of our nation, and July 4th is the date set on that famous document. And that is why we celebrate on the 4th of July rather than on the second5.

So happy fourth of July from all of us at Homes4uu!

5 Smithsonian Magazine

3 USFlag.org

4, 2 & 1 Time Magazine

 

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