Why Do We Celebrate the 4th of July?
The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, celebrates the passage of the Declaration of Independence. The American colonies wanted their freedom from Great Britain, and on 2 July 1776, the Continental Congress voted for that independence.
The first annual celebration for July 4th was held in Philadelphia in 1777. Towns across the country celebrated in their own ways, but most celebrations included bonfires, parades, canon or musket fire, and lots of public speeches.
Many 4th of July traditions today came from those first celebrations in 1777. Early 4th of July traditions included public gatherings where participants celebrated their hard-fought independence by ringing bells in revelry, building bonfires, lighting fireworks, and firing canons. It was a time to remind people of their rights and freedoms. Fireworks are another favorite 4th of July tradition. Some states allow the use of fireworks privately; however, many do not for safety reasons. Instead, families across the United States gather up lawn chairs, blankets, and perhaps mosquito repellent and head to a local park for a fireworks show, which can sound reminiscent of the canon fire from the early celebrations in the late 1700s!