There are currently 10 federal holidays in the United States designated by Congress. Among these officially recognized federal holidays is Independence Day. Held annually on the fourth of July, Independence Day is arguably one of the most significant holidays in the United States. It’s designed to celebrate our country’s Declaration of Independence. So, what’s the history behind Independence Day exactly?
The Origins of Independence Day
Independence Day has origins dating back to the 18th century, during which the Continental Congress broke ties with its British ruler. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress — a consortium of representatives from the various colonies — voted on the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that the colonies would no longer adhere to British rule, and that the colonies would operate as soverign entities.
While the Continental Congress voted on the Declaration of Independence on July 2, they didn’t finalize it until two days after. Therefore, July 4th has become recognized as the day on which the United States gained its freedom and independence from Great Britain. It’s now recognized as one of 10 federal holidays in the United States, the others being New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, George Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
How to Celebrate Independence Day
There’s no wrong way to celebrate Independence Day as long as you show respect for the United States. Many cities and municipalities host fireworks ceremonies on Independence Day. It’s a common tradition that dates back centuries. In the 1700s, soldiers would shoot off fireworks into the night sky on Independence Day, which naturally attracted large crowds of spectators. As a result, fireworks have become synonymous with this holiday. You can celebrate Independence Day either by attending a fireworks ceremony or by shooting off your own fireworks (assuming it’s allowed in your state).
Regardless of whether you choose to watch fireworks, you can celebrate Independence Day by displaying the American flag. Like fireworks, the American flag has become synonymous with Independence Day — and for good reason. It represents the United States as an independent and free country. If you own an American flag, consider displaying it in front of your home or business on Independence Day. When displayed outdoors, however, you should take it down at sunset. It’s a little-known fact that the American flag should only be displayed outdoors from sunrise to sunset unless it’s illuminated with some form of exterior lighting.