The meaning behind Independence Day and how 4 July is celebrated in the US

by 24britishtvJuly 4, 2022, 8 p.m. 17
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In the UK this is just a regular Monday back at work, but across the pond, people in the United States are celebrating one of their most important holidays.

Independence Day always falls on 4 July. It is a federal holiday, meaning all non-essential federal government offices are closed, and every federal employee is paid for the day off.

It commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the United States, which was signed by Congress on 4 July 1776.

Here is everything you need to know about it.

What is the meaning of Independence Day?

In the 18th century a significant part of the north American continent along the Atlantic coast – known as the Thirteen Colonies – was under British rule.

They proposed to become independent of Britain and free from the rule of King George III.

On 2 July 1776, the Congress, made up of representatives from the colonies, voted to approve independence, and two days later the Declaration of Independence was signed, with future president Thomas Jefferson its principal author.

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America,” wrote John Adams, who would go on to become America’s second president 21 years later. “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.”

Despite this, it has always been the fourth that has been celebrated, as this is the date that appears on the declaration.

Historians have long disputed whether members of Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on 4 July, even though Jefferson, Adams and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote they had signed it on that day.

Many believe that in reality, it was signed into law a month later, on 2 August.

Both Jefferson and Adams died on 4 July 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the declaration.

Adams may have got the date of the Independence Day celebrations wrong, but he got the manner correct.

“It ought to be solemnised with pomp and parade,” he said in a letter to his wife, “with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies are all associated with the holiday.

Making use of the day off – and in certain years, like this one, the long weekend – families often host get-togethers, picnics and barbecues, following parades in the morning.

Independence Day decorations are usually in the traditional American red, white and blue.

A salute of one gun for each state in the US, called a “salute to the union,” is fired on Independence Day at noon by any capable military base.

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