While the traditional 4th of July Holiday is to celebrate the anniversary of the declaration of the United States’ independence from England, it is interesting to note that is not when Independence Day celebrations first began. Even more interesting to note is that even though the United States celebrates it’s independence from England on that day; the holiday itself is largely based on English traditions.
You may not know that during the sixteenth century there were many political and regions debates raging and a lot of discontent existed in the British Isles. During this time, the British people started using both official and unofficial anniversary dates to make their own political statements and show their alliances. They did this buy having parades and feasting which ultimately were to show other people who their alliances were with.
When the colonizers left the British Empire, this tradition carried across the ocean. When discontent began to spread, these events were used as a means of protest which allowed the colonizers to show their political affiliations and messages based on their parades and dinners. It was all simply for show. Whenever there was a large parade, feast or other event happening, people often showed up simply to see what was going on. In this day, the large groups of people were seen as supporting whatever political opinion was being promoted ? whether they truly did or not.
When the Declaration of Independence was printed, a staged celebration was created and the day was to be the celebration of independence from England, though no one ever did anything official for the day to become a holiday. Because the crowds were so large, it was assumed that the colonizers were interested in separating from the English and the movement proceeded. There were many original festivals to celebrate the Independence Day in the early years; however, the date which it came to be celebrated is July 4th.
While the celebrations of the sixteenth century were essentially a political movement, today’s Independence Day celebrations are based on the actual freedom the US gained from England. The celebrations have grown and evolved over the years, but in the last two hundred plus years, the celebration has been about our own independence as the United States of America.
Modern day 4th of July festivities now include: parades, feasts, festivals, and other large gatherings of people. Often patriotic songs are played and people take a nice relaxing day off to enjoy simply living here in the United States. Many festivals and feasts are head in town parks. This allows the children to run free and play, while the adults enjoy a meal of largely BBQ and other picnic foods. Today some of the most popular foods for the 4th of July holiday are BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs, corn on the cob, and various macaroni and potato salads.
In addition to the celebrations was the addition of fireworks. While fireworks are largely a Chinese tradition, they are used on the 4th of July by millions of Americans to help celebrate the day. Most towns and cities across the United States allow citizens to purchase at least safe and sane fireworks for their July 4th celebrations.
As you can see, while the 4th of July is now celebrated as a national holiday, it once was staged as a sort-of political act. However, that political thinking caught on and the United States did get its freedom from England ? even though our parades and festivals are mostly in the English style.