In tribute to all my American friends I wanted to do a quick post about one of their biggest holidays, the 4th of July.
Independence Day is more commonly known as the Fourth of July and is a federal holiday in the United States. It is a celebration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
This is the day that the US declared independence from Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the US.
Similar to other summer-themed events, Independence Day celebrations often take place outdoors. Independence Day is a federal holiday, so all non-essential federal institutions (like the postal service and federal courts) are closed on that day. Many politicians make it a point on this day to appear at a public event to praise the nation’s heritage, laws, history, society, and people.
Decorations (e.g., streamers, balloons, and clothing) are generally colored red, white, and blue, to symbolise American patriotism. Parades are often in the morning, while fireworks displays occur in the evening at such places as parks, fairgrounds, or town squares.
The night before the Fourth was once the focal point of celebrations, marked by the lighting of bonfires. In New England, towns competed to build towering pyramids, assembled from hogsheads and barrels and casks. The highest were in Salem, Massachusetts (on Gallows Hill, the famous site of the execution of 13 women and 6 men for witchcraft in 1692 during the Salem witch trials, where the tradition of bonfires in celebration had persisted). The custom flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries, and is still practiced in some New England towns.
Independence Day fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner“, “God Bless America“, “America the Beautiful“, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, “This Land Is Your Land“, “Stars and Stripes Forever”, and, regionally, “Yankee Doodle” in northeastern states and “Dixie” in southern states. Some of the lyrics recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812.
Firework shows are held in many states, and many fireworks are sold for personal use or as an alternative to a public show. Safety concerns have led some states to ban fireworks or limit the sizes and types allowed.
A salute of one gun for each state in the United States, called a “salute to the union,” is fired on Independence Day at noon by any capable military base.
While the official observance always falls on July 4th, participation levels may vary according to which day of the week the 4th falls on. If the holiday falls in the middle of the week, some fireworks displays and celebrations may take place during the weekend for convenience, again, varying by region.
While the 4th of July has not become an internationally celebrated (like St Patrick’s Day) the Philippines celebrates July 4 as its Republic Day to commemorate that day in 1946 when it ceased to be a U.S. territory. In Rwanda, July 4 is an official holiday known as Liberation Day, commemorating the end of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide in which the US government also played a role.
So there you have it the 4th of July is day of celebration and in that spirit I would like to say Happy Independence Day America. Have fun and celebrate.
Let me know how you’re celebrating this great holiday wherever you are in the world.