Americans have been celebrating the countries Independence since the late 1700s. Though times have changed and life has dramatically evolved, the celebrations themselves have not varied much since the earliest festivals of this liberating holiday. Kick back, relax, grab yourself a cold one. Read all about how Independence Day has changed (or not changed at all) over the years.
Early celebrations of Independence Day
The first legitimate celebration of Independence Day took place in Philadelphia in 1777. It was then that the United States of America celebrated its first year as an independent nation. Civilians celebrated with rum, games, sports, song, and, of course, red, white, and blue attire and decorations. However, it wasn’t until almost 100 years later, in 1870, that it had been recognized as a federal holiday.
Liberty was far from universal for all living in the United States when Independence Day had initially established itself as a holiday. The Declaration of Independence didn’t mention anything about slavery, but it wasn’t until June 19th, 1865 that the nation called for genuine liberating celebrations. It was this day that enslaved individuals could finally break their chains. Also known as Juneteenth, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Jubilee Day, June 19th is the anniversary of what many would now call America’s Second Independence Day. As the years continue to pass, Juneteenth is becoming more of a significant holiday. Juneteenth, previously only recognized as a state holiday in New York, Virginia, and Texas. Just this year, it ensued as a federal holiday celebrated in all states.
Back to the celebration
Some of the biggest firework shows and extravaganzas yearly have not changed since the very beginning, with New York City, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, and Addison (TX) hosting some of the largest Independence Day celebrations. Boston especially takes pride in its festivities, being the first state to declare the day a statewide holiday. Smaller cities spend anywhere from $8,000-$15,000 on their firework displays each year. However, New York spends a whopping $6 million on around 75,000 firework shells. Throughout the 50 states, approximately 16,000 firework shows occur each year on July 4th.
Fourth of July traditions
The most notable change throughout the years regarding the celebration of July 4th has been the monetary value. Each year, over 7 billion American dollars get spent on 4th of July festivities between the firework shows, barbeques, party decorations, and drinks (including $1 billion on beer alone, according to WalletHub). Aside from the excessive amount spent on the holiday, it has been a tradition from the very start to enjoy great barbecue food, sing along to notable patriotic songs, gather with friends, family, and peers outside, watch sports, and children playing, and marvel at firework shows.
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