Explainer: Why Fourth of July is a big thing in USA

Written By: Moohita Kaur Garg WION Web Team
New York, United States Updated: Jul 04, 2021, 06:15 PM(IST)

Fourth of July Photograph:( AFP )

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245 years ago today, the United States (US) was founded

Today America celebrates the Fourth of July, which we all know is an American holiday celebrating independence. 

However, how many of us know the history behind this federal holiday?

Let's explore the history and the significance of this day.

245 years ago today, the United States (US) was founded. While July 4th was made a federal holiday only in 1941, the tradition actually goes back to 1776.

On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress assembled and decided that the thirteen (13) American colonies are no longer subordinate to the Colonial British rulers and the then British Monarch, King George III. 

US Declaration of Independence

US Declaration of Independence/Photo Source(Twitter)

So, they voted in favour of independence and on 4th July 1776, delegates from the thirteen colonies came together to sign the historic 'Declaration of Independence'.

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, this document was the first step towards the formation of the country we know today as the United States of America. 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Made popular by  Abraham Lincoln who used these words in his Gettysburg Address of 1863, these words from the declaration have come to represent the ethos of human rights.

While over the years political independence of this day has somewhat diminished, it remains a day of family celebrations and get-togethers. 

America celebrates this day with fireworks, feasts, parades, barbecues, carnivals, political speeches, and ceremonies, all celebrating the nation's history, its government, and its traditions. 

Fireworks

All those who are are not American citizens have watched countless movies, television series that show the USA's fascination with fireworks, especially when it comes to Fourth of July celebrations.

Firework Display (File Photo)

Firework Display (File Photo)

But do you know, who started this tradition?

In 1777, Philadelphia held the first organised celebration of Independence day. On that day, Philadelphia had a Ship’s cannon fire a 13-gun salute honouring the 13 colonies. The next day, a newspaper called 'The Pennsylvania Evening Post', described it as a grand exhibition of fireworks, and a tradition was born. 

Macy's Firework display

Every year New York has one of the most famous firework displays in the country. Known as the Macy fireworks display it is usually held over the East River in New York City.

Last year due to the pandemic this gorgeous display was altered. To discourage large gatherings, the exact time and location of the displays weren't announced in advance. Instead, the five boroughs of New York City each had a short 5-minute televised displays. 

But this year this iconic display is back. According to Macy's website, the 45th annual firework display will be televised live on NBC between the hours of 8 pm-10 pm local time

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