Fourth of July weekend has arrived and the festivities that were canceled last year have returned. Family picnics, festive foods and the most iconic symbol of July 4th celebrations- fireworks- are happening all weekend long. Independence Day without a fireworks show is hard to imagine. Which leads to the question, how did fireworks on July 4th become a tradition?
The Declaration of Independence was officially adopted in July 4, 1776, although a number of the delegates did not sign the document until about one month later. One year later, on July 4, 1777, the first organized Independence Day celebration happened in Philadelphia. The celebration kicked off with armed ships and gallies on the river, red, white and blue streamers displayed, a dinner, a 13-gun salute (in honor of the 13 colonies), military demonstrations, music performances and more. The celebration came to a close with…you guessed it… a firework show that illuminated the entire city.
The tradition of the celebration of Independence Day was picked up by many cities, with Boston being the first to make July 4th an official holiday in 1783. Fireworks became even more popular following the War of 1812. Almost 100 years later, in 1870, Independence Day was established as an official holiday by Congress.
Americans now spend around $1 billion on fireworks every Independence Day. Whatever your plans may be, we hope you have a safe, fun and festive July 4th!