Independence Day (colloquial: the Fourth of July) is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject (and subordinate) to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states. The Congress had voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2, but it was not declared until July 4.
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 United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.
Displays of fireworks, such as these over the Washington Monument in 1986, take place across the United States on Independence Day.
|Also called||The Fourth of July|
|Observed by||United States|
|Significance||The day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress|
|Celebrations||Fireworks, family reunions, concerts, barbecues, picnics, parades, baseball games|
|Next time||July 4, 2019|
During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain in 1776 actually occurred on July 2, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain's rule. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it two days later on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
Adams's prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.
Historians have long disputed whether members of Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.
Coincidentally, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, James Monroe, another Founding Father who was elected as President, also died on July 4, 1831. He was the third President who died on the anniversary of independence. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872; so far he is the only U.S. President to have been born on Independence Day.
Independence Day is a national holiday marked by patriotic displays. Similar to other summer-themed events, Independence Day celebrations often take place outdoors. According to 5 U.S.C. § 6103, Independence Day is a federal holiday, so all non-essential federal institutions (such as 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.
Families often celebrate Independence Day by hosting or attending a picnic or barbecue; many take advantage of the day off and, in some years, a long weekend to gather with relatives or friends. Decorations (e.g., streamers, balloons, and clothing) are generally colored red, white, and blue, the colors of the American flag. Parades are often held in the morning, before family get-togethers, while fireworks displays occur in the evening after dark at such places as parks, fairgrounds, or town squares.
The night before the Fourth was once the focal point of celebrations, marked by raucous gatherings often incorporating bonfires as their centerpiece. In New England, towns competed to build towering pyramids, assembled from barrels and casks. They were lit at nightfall to usher in the celebration. The highest were in Salem, Massachusetts, with pyramids composed of as many as forty tiers of barrels. These made the tallest bonfires ever recorded. 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. In addition, local and regional weather conditions may dictate whether the sale or use of fireworks in an area will be allowed. Some local or regional firework sales are limited or prohibited because of dry weather or other specific concerns. On these occasions the public may be prohibited from purchasing or discharging fireworks, but professional displays (such as those at sports events) may still take place, if certain safety precautions have been taken.
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.
New York City has the largest fireworks display in the country, with more than 22 tons of pyrotechnics exploded in 2009. It generally holds displays in the East River. Other major displays are in Seattle on Lake Union; in San Diego over Mission Bay; in Boston on the Charles River; in Philadelphia over the Philadelphia Museum of Art; in San Francisco over the San Francisco Bay; and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
During the annual Windsor–Detroit International Freedom Festival, Detroit, Michigan hosts one of the largest fireworks displays in North America, over the Detroit River, to celebrate Independence Day in conjunction with Windsor, Ontario's celebration of Canada Day.
The first week of July is typically one of the busiest United States travel periods of the year, as many people use what is often a three-day holiday weekend for extended vacation trips.
The Philippines celebrates July 4 as its Republic Day to commemorate that day in 1946 when it ceased to be a U.S. territory and the United States officially recognized Philippine Independence. July 4 was intentionally chosen by the United States because it corresponds to its Independence Day, and this day was observed in the Philippines as Independence Day until 1962. In 1964, the name of the July 4 holiday was changed to Republic Day. Rebild National Park in Denmark is said to hold the largest July 4 celebrations outside of the United States.
On the following day, when the formal vote of Congress was taken, the resolutions were approved by twelve Colonies–all except New York. The original Colonies, therefore, became the United States of America on July 2, 1776.
4th of July is a mystery and legal thriller by James Patterson.Ah, Wilderness!
Ah, Wilderness! is a comedy by American playwright Eugene O'Neill that premiered on Broadway at the Guild Theatre on October 2, 1933. It differs from a typical O'Neill play in its happy ending for the central character, and depiction of a happy family in turn of the century America. It is O'Neill's only well-known comedy.
The play was successful in its first Broadway production and the touring production that followed. It has since become a staple of community repertory.Ah, Wilderness! (film)
Ah, Wilderness! is a 1935 American film adaptation of the Eugene O'Neill play of the same name starring Wallace Beery. The picture was shot in Grafton, Massachusetts, at the common in the center of town, and was directed by Clarence Brown. Beery plays the drunken uncle later portrayed on Broadway by Jackie Gleason, and the film features Lionel Barrymore, Eric Linden, Cecilia Parker, Spring Byington, and a young Mickey Rooney. Rooney also stars in MGM's musical remake Summer Holiday (1948).
The film was the first advertised in trade papers for Academy Award nominations, depicting a cartoon of MGM's Leo the Lion holding an Oscar and proudly stating "You've given so much, Leo ... Get ready to receive!" Nevertheless, the film failed to receive a single nomination.America's Freedom Festival at Provo
America's Freedom Festival at Provo (also America's Freedom Festival or Freedom Festival) is a private, non-profit, non-political foundation known for organizing more than 25 annual patriotic events in and around Provo, Utah. It is one of the largest and longest (usually May - July) patriotic celebrations in the nation. The organization's stated mission is to "celebrate, teach, honor, and strengthen the traditional American values of family, freedom, God, and country." America's Freedom Festival sponsors one of the nation's largest Fourth of July celebrations, Stadium of Fire, held each year at LaVell Edwards Stadium on the campus of Brigham Young University. Recent performers at Stadium of Fire include Journey (band), Cirque du Soleil, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, and the Blue Man Group. The United States Department of Defense has chosen to broadcast parts of the festival to millions of servicemen and women serving abroad in the Armed Forces for the past several years.The festivities usually include a patriotic service, hot air balloon launches, a carnival, and a parade. Among the most popular events included is a Colonial Heritage fair, in which colonial skills, craftsmanship, and history are taught and celebrated.Avalon (1990 film)
Avalon is a 1990 drama film directed by Barry Levinson. It is the third in Levinson's semi-autobiographical tetralogy of "Baltimore films" set in his hometown during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s: Diner (1982), Tin Men (1987), Avalon (1990), and Liberty Heights (1999). The film explores the themes of Jewish assimilation into American life.Dick (film)
Dick is a 1999 American comedy film directed by Andrew Fleming from a script he wrote with Sheryl Longin. It is a comic reimagining of the Watergate scandal which ended the presidency of Richard ("Tricky Dick") Nixon and features several cast members from Saturday Night Live and The Kids in the Hall.Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams star as Betsy and Arlene, two warm-hearted but unworldly 15-year-old girls who are best friends, and who, through various arbitrary circumstances, become the legendary "Deep Throat" figure partly responsible for bringing down Nixon's presidency. Dan Hedaya plays Nixon.Disney's Celebrate America
Disney's Celebrate America is a seasonal fireworks show that premiered on July 3, 2008 at the Magic Kingdom theme park in the Walt Disney World outside Orlando, Florida, on July 4 of that same year at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and on July 1, 2011 at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, California. The 15-minute show, produced by Walt Disney Creative Entertainment under creative director Steve Davison, celebrates the traditions, spirit and music of the United States of America, and is shown in lieu of the regular fireworks shows on both July 3 and 4 at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, and Disney California Adventure. While these parks use the same soundtrack, the fireworks used are different, due to Anaheim's fireworks laws being more strict. This is the first time in history that Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Disney California Adventure share similar fireworks shows (although Disney California Adventure version was shorter than Disneyland and Magic Kingdom parks).Evansville Freedom Festival
The Evansville Freedom Festival was an annual festival in Evansville, Indiana that celebrates the Fourth of July. What began in 1970 with only a handful of events has grown to include unlimited boat racing, airshows, food booths, dances, and music culminating with a fireworks show over the Evansville riverfront.
From 1979 to 2008, the Thunder on the Ohio hydroplane races had been the signature event of the Evansville Freedom Festival. Thunder was typically the first official race of the American Boat Racing Association season. In 2009 Thunder on the Ohio broke away from Evansville's Freedom Festival and moved to the end of August as a stand-alone event. Thunder still draws boats and drivers from all over the country as well as some local favorites.The United States Navy's Blue Angels have been an added attraction in recent years. The Blue Angels were part of the Freedom Festival's air show in both 2001 and 2005.
In 2011, the Freedom Festival became the ShrinersFest, as it is now ran by the local Hadi Temple.Independence Day (Ford novel)
Independence Day is a 1995 novel by Richard Ford and the sequel to Ford's 1986 novel The Sportswriter. This novel is the second in what is now a four-part series, the first being The Sportswriter. It was followed by The Lay of the Land (2006) and Let Me Be Frank With You (2014). Independence Day won the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1996, becoming the first novel ever to win both awards in a single year.STS-4
STS-4 was the fourth NASA Space Shuttle mission, and also the fourth for Space Shuttle Columbia. The mission launched on 27 June 1982 and landed a week later on 4 July. STS-4 was the final test flight for the shuttle; it was thereafter officially declared to be operational. Columbia carried numerous scientific payloads during the mission, as well as military missile detection systems.Safety Second
Safety Second is a 1950 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 51st Tom and Jerry short directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and produced by Fred Quimby. The working title for this cartoon was F'r Safety Sake before Hanna and Barbera finally settled for Safety Second. The short was animated by Ray Patterson, Ed Barge, Kenneth Muse, Irven Spence and Al Grandmain, scored by Scott Bradley and released on July 1, 1950. This is the only episode without the "Loews Incorporated" footer on the "credits" section.Silver Lode (film)
Silver Lode is a 1954 American Technicolor Western film directed by Allan Dwan and starring John Payne, Lizabeth Scott and Dan Duryea.Sisters (Steel novel)
Sisters is a novel by Danielle Steel, published by Random House in February 2007. The book is Steel's seventy-first novel.Sparkler
A sparkler is a type of hand-held firework that burns slowly while emitting colored flames, sparks, and other effects.
In the United Kingdom, a sparkler is often used by children at bonfire and fireworks displays on Guy Fawkes Night, the fifth of November, and in the United States on Independence Day. They are called Phool Jhadi in India and are popular during the Diwali festival.Stadium of Fire
The Stadium of Fire is an annual event held in the Brigham Young University's LaVell Edwards Stadium on or very near the United States' Independence Day. It is one of the main events for the America's Freedom Festival. This patriotic extravaganza with a cast of thousands features the largest stadium fireworks show in America. It is also televised worldwide to America's troops and their families on American Forces TV, as a gift from America's Freedom Festival.
The 2019 Edition is Keith Urban and Chuck Norris.
The Stadium of Fire was created by Merrill Osmond & Alan Osmond in 1980 and has become one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in the United States. With super star performers and also the Stadium of Fire Dancers. For the past 13 years it has been created and produced by Baruch Gayton Entertainment Group.Summer Holiday (1948 film)
Summer Holiday is a 1948 American musical comedy film directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Mickey Rooney and Gloria DeHaven. The picture is based on the play Ah, Wilderness! (1933) by Eugene O'Neill, which had been filmed as under that name by MGM in 1935 with Rooney in a much smaller role. Though completed in October 1946, the film sat on the shelf until 1948.In addition to Walter Huston, the supporting cast features Frank Morgan as the drunken Uncle Sid, portrayed earlier by Wallace Beery on screen and later by Jackie Gleason on Broadway, as well as Marilyn Maxwell, Agnes Moorehead, Selena Royle and Anne Francis. It is unusual in that most of the dialogue is sung. It is one of the famous Arthur Freed production musicals of MGM. It has beautiful costumes and colorful cinematography.Talley's Folly
Talley's Folly is a 1980 play by American playwright Lanford Wilson. The play is the second in The Talley Trilogy, between his plays Talley & Son and Fifth of July. Set in an boathouse near rural Lebanon, Missouri in 1944, it is a romantic comedy following the characters Matt Friedman and Sally Talley as they settle their feelings for each other. Wilson received the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the work. The play is unlike Wilson's other works, taking place in one act with no intermission, set in ninety-seven minutes of real time, with no set change.The Bay (film)
The Bay is a 2012 American found footage horror film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Michael Wallach. It premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in theaters on November 2, 2012.To the Fourth of July
To the Fourth of July is an English poem written by Indian monk and social reformer Swami Vivekananda. Vivekananda wrote the poem on 4 July 1898 on the anniversary of the United States' independence.In this poem Vivekananda praised and glorified liberty and the poem is described as a passionate utterance of his powerful longing for freedom. Coincidentally Vivekananda himself died on 4 July 1902.
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|Varies (year round)|
(federal) = federal holidays, (state) = state holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (week) = weeklong holidays, (month) = monthlong holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies