Millions of Americans around the world today celebrate the Independence Day of the United States of America.
4th of July, or commonly known as Independence Day, is a federal holiday in the United States.
It commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776.
How it all started
After initial battles broke out in April 1775, some colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain.
By the middle of 1776, many more colonists joined the desire for independence.
This was largely thanks to the growing hostility against Britain.
As a result, the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia on June 7th.
(Consequently, the Pennsylvania State House would later be known as Independence Hall).
A Virginia delegate introduced a motion that called for independence of the colonies.
On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of the resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote.
On July 4th, the Continental Congress had formally adopted the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence was largely written by Thomas Jefferson.
And even-though the vote for independence took place on 2nd July, the 4th of July became the date of birth of the American independence.
4th of July becomes a National Holiday
In 1870 the U.S. Congress made 4th of July a federal holiday.
In addition, in 1941, they expanded this provision to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.
Over the years, the political importance of the holiday had declined.
And Independence Day remained the most important national holiday, as well as a symbol of patriotism.
Since the late 19th century, 4th of July has become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family reunions.
It often involves fireworks and outdoor barbecues. Parades, carnivals, concerts and picnics are also part of the Independence Day events.
But, first of all, the most common symbol of this holiday is the American flag and the national anthem of the United States.
People would dress up in all American clothing, with the eagle being the most prominent symbol which represents freedom.
Did You Know?
John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which the birth of American independence should be celebrated.
Therefore, he would reportedly turn down invitations to appear on 4th of July events as protest.
Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.