Since July 4th, 1776, Independence Day has been a celebration recognizing the birth of American independence. We all know that, but what are some other interesting facts about the holiday that may have escaped you? Some of them may surprise you.
A brief history is in order to remember how the holiday even came about. It all started with that little thing called the American Revolution. Thirteen representatives of the colonies fighting in the war met in June of 1776 to decide about declaring their independence from Great Britain. On June 7th, 1776, there was a heated debate on the issue. The Continental Congress was unable to come to an agreement on a resolution introduced by Richard Henry Lee representing Virginia. A vote was postponed and a five member committee was formed to draft a document that would justify the colonial break with Great Britain. The group consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted for independence unanimously (but it took New York a little time to vote in agreement). On July 4th the delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence.
Now that the history lesson is out of the way, we can get on to some interesting facts about our great Independence Day.
John Adams believed July 2nd date was the actual date of independence and protested the July 4th date by not accepting invitations to events on that day.
The Liberty Bell didn’t ring on July 4th, 1776. Instead it was rung on July 8, 1776 to mark the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Some colonist held mock funerals of King George III to represent the break from the monarchy during celebrations of the day.
The first official holiday was held on July 4th, 1777. The new nation was still at war, but Congress authorized the use of fireworks in celebrating the holiday.
George Washington gave double rations of rum to the soldiers to mark the holiday in 1778.
Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday in 1781.
Three U.S. presidents have died on the holiday. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died just a few hours apart on July 4, 1826–the 50 year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence–and James Monroe died on July 4th, 1831.
The U.S. finally made July 4th a federal holiday in 1870.
In 1941, Congress approved July 4th as a paid holiday to federal employees. It is one of only four federal holidays that are celebrated on the same calendar day each year. The others? Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving Day.
More than 14,000 firework displays occur each July 4th across the country.
The largest fireworks display is the Macy’s Fourth of July Spectacular in New York City. The display uses 75,000 lbs of fireworks and lasts about thirty minutes. The celebration is attended by approximately 2 million people.
After the July 4th weekend is a memory, the effects of how much food and beverages you consumed could still be with you. Here’s a reason why, and hold on to your stomach, because it’s estimated that 150 million hot dogs will be consumed during the July 4th holiday. That’s roughly 18 million pounds of hotdogs. But we’ll need buns so that will require 18.75 million packages of 8-count buns to cradle those hot dogs. Now, after consuming those hot dogs, how much heavier will we make ourselves? A hot dog is approximately 137 calories, so we will consume about 20.55 billion calories just over the July 4th weekend. Better start walking or running on that treadmill.
Hope you enjoyed the facts. Happy 4th of July!