July 6, 2012

Independence Day: Fun Facts Friday

This past Wednesday, July 4, we celebrated Independence Day in the United States. Since July 4, 1776 we have celebrated this day as our country's birthday, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed making us our own country separate from England.

First, I want to thank our founding fathers and all who continue to fight for this country. I feel blessed to live here.

My kids were asking me a lot of questions as we sat and watched fireworks Wednesday evening, so off to the Internet we went. What did parents do before the Internet? I love being able to answer my kids' questions quickly and correctly without pulling down an encyclopedia that might or might not be updated.

But back to what we found...

July 4th Interesting Facts

* The Declaration of Independence was approved July 2, 1776 in a closed session of Congress. Historians disagree as to whether it was signed on July 4 (some argue it was as late as August 2), but the document is dated July 4, 1776.

* The first fireworks celebrating July 4th were set off on July 8, 1776 and thereafter every year. The Chinese culture was known for fireworks, they believed loud sounds and bright colors warded off evil spirits, and Marco Polo brought them to Europe in the 1200s. Europe mainly used them to celebrate the birthday of the King or Queen. Some say we used them to mock England. Others say we used them to represent the sounds of cannons and muskets heard during our war for our independence. On July 4, 1777, we celebrated the first anniversary with fireworks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the then capital.

* Congress made July 4th an unpaid holiday in 1870. It did not become an official federal paid holiday until 1941.

* The first recorded use of the term "Independence Day" was in 1791.

* The estimated number of people living in the US on 7/4/76: 2.5 million. The estimated number of people living in the US on 7/4/12: 313.9 million. (Source)

* In 2011, the US imported $3.6 million in US Flags. The majority ($3.3 million) came from China. (Source)

* The largest July 4th fireworks displays are listed here (2011). The Top 4: New York, New York; Atlantic City, NJ; Addison, TX; and Boston, MA.

What's your favorite part of July 4th? If you are outside the US, what celebration in your country is similar?


Rebecca Barrow said...

We have bonfire night, I guess! It's not really similar except for lots and lots of fireworks, and food, and fun...so actually it's pretty similar :)

Elise Fallson said...

In France they celebrate their Independence Day on the 14 of July, but it's not nearly as festive as it is here for the 4th. This was the first year my kids got to see a fireworks display and seeing the expression on their little faces was by far the best part of the day. That and handing them sparklers afterwards. (:

Jo Michaels said...

I love the web. So much info at your fingertips just waiting to be plucked from the ether and digested through your brain. Thanks for sharing. WRITE ON!

Tia Bach said...

Rebecca, Bonfire! How fun.

Elise, Wow, I didn't realize France was so close to our date. Glad the kids got an American 4th!

Jo, I'm so thankful for the Internet. ;-)

Unknown said...

Hi Tia - I blogged about Independence Day too - only I'm a Brit inside the US so I gave my British slant on it:) Like Rebecca said we have Bonfire night back home - although that one has nothing to do with us gaining Independence (we never had to worry about that) - I'd say the fireworks are about where the similarity ends. I miss bonfire night!!

Tia Bach said...

Josie, I think bonfires sound like such fun. We need to do more of that here in the US!