Three Ways to Celebrate America’s Independence Day

Filed in American Culture by on July 3, 2014 0 Comments

Photo by waynewhuang.

Joining your U.S. friends and colleagues to celebrate America’s Independence Day provides exhilarating opportunities to see the country at its finest. On no other day of the year do Americans of all political beliefs, religious backgrounds, ethnic heritages, and economic realities come together in a celebration of our nation.

If you’re outside on Friday night, you likely will see (or hear) an explosive American tradition on July 4: fireworks. The colorful displays will light up the sky at night as people gather in parks and backyards across the country to watch and celebrate Independence Day. But what’s the backstory, and why do we celebrate with fireworks?

Americans have been marking the United States’ independence from Great Britain on July 4 since 1776. But while it is the day we celebrate, the United States did not officially separate from Great Britain that day. The Second Continental Congress actually voted to separate from Great Britain on July 2, but it wasn’t until July 4 when they approved the Declaration of Independence, written by the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention. These men are also known as the Founding Fathers, and the declaration outlined why the 13 Colonies wanted to form their own government.

It was in between the official separation from Great Britain and the approval of the Declaration of Independence that of the Founding Fathers, John Adams, wrote to his wife on July 3, 1776, that Independence “…ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…” Since then, from coast to coast, Americans have been illuminating the sky with dazzling displays that would make John Adams proud.

Here are three ways you can join the Independence Day celebrations this year in the spirit of John Adams:

  1. Watch a fireworks display
    From New York City to San Francisco, cities across America will light up at night with fireworks displays. Find out if a city near you is listed on USA Today’s 10 best fireworks in the nation.

    If you’re staying indoors to beat the summer heat on July 4, you can watch “A Capitol Fourth” beginning at 8 p.m. This is a concert held every year on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. You can view a list of performers at the 2014 celebration here. Once the program has concluded, the fireworks over the National Mall will air. 

  1. Attend a parade
    Many local communities will deck out in red white and blue to celebrate Independence Day. Check your local news outlets for time and dates of these parades.
  1. Cook a classic American dish
    From patriotic desserts to grilled vegetables, the Food Network has suggestions for Fourth of July recipes. If you plan on making pulled pork barbecue, make sure to read out previous post for an easy recipe.

How will you be celebrating Independence Day on July 4? Share your experience below in the comments.