Ever wondered why we celebrate our nation's freedom every July 4th with massive, beautiful explosions in the sky? How did this tradition originate? Turns out, this custom has been practiced from the very beginning. Fireworks have been around for about as long as the land of the free, and it seems they're here to stay.
John Adams Predicts Illuminations
After being under British rule for over a century, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence on July 2, 1776. Two days later, on July 4th, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. During this time, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail Adams, predicting celebrations of America's independence from that day forward.
He proclaimed that it would be commemorated with:
“pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more."
Well, Mr. Adams, you were right.
The First Fireworks
The following year, in 1777, the first celebratory fireworks were set off to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our independence. An excerpt from the Virginia Gazette retold the events of that July 4th, which took place in Philadelphia:
Yesterday the 4th of July, being the Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America, was celebrated in this city with demonstration of joy and festivity…The evening was closed with the ringing of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated. Every thing was conducted with the greatest order and decorum, and the face of joy and gladness was universal. Thus may the 4th of July, that glorious and ever memorable day, be celebrated through America, by the sons of freedom, from age to age till time shall be no more. Amen, and amen
The years to follow have been no different. Every July 4th has been a day for Americans to celebrate their glorious freedom and bask in the independence claimed by them in 1776.
Celebrations of the Citizenry
By 1783, fireworks became available to the general public, giving citizens the freedom to set them off on their own doing.
In 1870, Independence Day was recognized as a federal holiday, making it even easier to celebrate the birth of a free nation.
Over two centuries later, July 4th is still widely celebrated as the most monumental day in our nation's history. Based on statistics by U.S News, around 103 million people will attend some sort of firework show or celebration for Independence Day. Furthermore, consumers spend an average of $755 million on fireworks each year.
Looks like John Adams called it. Americans love to celebrate their freedom.
So, be safe out there, and keep on poppin' the fireworks!
Infographic Source: Visually