Happy birthday, America!
Did you know that this is the date the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress, but the actual signing of the document didn’t start until August and wasn’t complete until the following January?
The first informal celebrations took place almost immediately following the public reading of the Declaration, and interestingly, they are still pretty much the same more than 200 years later: parades, fireworks, feasting. However, the first official (mandated by legislature) celebration wasn’t held until 1781, in Massachusetts.
In the “some things never change” category, a Mrs. Hammond of Chicago declared that she would fly the Confederate flag in front of her house on the 4th of July in 1894. According to the New York Times, this caused an angry crowd to assemble in front of the Hammond house, until Mrs. Hammond admitted that she had ordered the flag, but it hadn’t arrived yet. The crowd disbanded, and Mrs. H. promptly displayed a British flag, which was torn down and destroyed by a young boy who was passing by.
And finally: the Fourth is one of only, well, four holidays that are still celebrated in this country on a certain date, regardless of convenience: New Year’s Day, Christmas Day, Independence Day, and Halloween.