Why is the 4th of July celebrated in the US?
Published on February 24, 2022 / Updated by Angéline Gras-Kresse on February 14, 2024
Why is the 4th of July celebrated in the US? Simply put, it’s the United States of America’s birthday. US Americans love to celebrate with noisy fireworks and US flag-themed clothing and food and BBQs. What is the story of the 1st Independence Day? Whether you’re learning English or simply interested in American history, let’s get to the bottom of how and why for the 4th of July in this article.
England established colonies in North America in 1607. Over the course of 150 years, these colonies generated a lot of money for the King of England. Exported goods included tobacco, cotton, sugar, rum, corn, timber, whale products, and more.
England had strict control of the colonies through laws and taxation. Eventually, US American colonists started to resent England’s control. By 1775, small battles started to break out between British soldiers and armed militias.
In 1776, men representing the 13 colonies got together to do something about it. At this Continental Congress, they voted to form an independent nation. They wrote a document called the Declaration of Independence. It was an open letter explaining complaints against England’s control and declaring the American colonies free. The letter was signed on July 4, 1776.
To this day, US school children memorize the Declaration of Independence’s most famous line:
The colonies immediately celebrated the Declaration of Independence with fireworks. In the ports of Pennsylvania and Boston, ships fired guns and canons in a noisy celebration.
The Declaration of Independence had 56 men’s signatures, the largest one belonging to John Hancock. To this day, Americans will ask you:
Let’s talk about how to celebrate. US Americans go big for the 4th of July, no matter where they’re from. A beloved American tradition, it’s also the only major holiday during summer. Workers and school children get an extra day off to spend a 3-day weekend with their families.
Americans love to be outside on the 4th of July. We’ll have a BBQ (barbecue) in the park, on a boat, or at home in the backyard. We like grilling burgers (hamburgers) and ‘dogs (hot dogs). Other famous foods are potato salad and probably a cake that looks like an American Flag.
If you ask an American “why do we celebrate Independence Day ?”, they’ll say “freedom”. Today we use fireworks to create the noise and explosions of the first Independence Day. In every American city, you can park your car, have your BBQ, and wait for nightfall to see the fireworks show.
Americans love their flag on the 4th of July. Many houses will display their American flag outside for the whole weekend. You can also get in the American spirit by wearing American flag-themed clothing such as t-shirts, dresses, swimsuits, sunglasses, or other red, white, and blue clothing.
The USA continues to come to terms with its imperfect history. In that spirit, there is another Independence Day holiday in America called Juneteenth. It celebrates the emancipation of enslaved peoples in America. It is an especially important day for African Americans. Progressive non-Black communities in the US have taken to celebrating Juneteenth to emphasize that the 4th of July didn’t result in freedom for all men or women for that matter.
Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th with parades, music, fireworks, and traditional red-colored foods such as red velvet cake.
The 4th of July celebrates the day the USA declared independence from England. Now, it is a fun summer holiday all about family, food, and fireworks shows. To join in, put on your best American flag shorts and watch fireworks light up the sky.