Spread out that picnic blanket, fire up the grill and grab some cold beer from the cooler! Can you think of anything better spending the Fourth of July than this? As we don on everything red, white and blue while enjoying barbecues, parades and fireworks let us not forget that behind all of those, is history!
Ever since then, the day that we commemorate the Founding Fathers’ declaration of independence in 1776, is rife with quirky coincidences and inventive celebrations. And if you want to impress your loved ones at this year’s gathering, check out these facts you might not have known about America’s most cherished holiday:
- July What?
Not everyone was on board with celebrating on July 4th, John Adams wanted to celebrate on July 2nd because technically that’s the day when Congress actually voted for independence from Great Britain. However, a few changes were made to the Declaration of Independence and it was just formally dated, completed, and adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4th, so the holiday is still pretty legit.
- Put your John Hancock on it
If you’re familiar with the phrase “put your John Hancock” you might be interested where it came from. Only the President and the Secretary of Congress at during that time actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. They were John Hancock and Charles Thomson. John was the first person to sign, and he made the largest signature in the center of the document. His bold signature is the reason why people use the phrase when referring to signing your name.
- Rare Declaration
The Declaration came out in The Pennsylvania Evening Post on July 6, 1776. John Dunlap, a Philadelphia printer produced around 200 copies of the declaration’s manuscripts, also known as “Dunlap Broadsides.” And if you happen to still have a copy on hand now, then you’re in for a great fortune because only 26 copies have survived throughout the years. One of the most recent copies was discovered tucked behind a painting sold for $4 at a flea market and auctioned for a whopping $8.1 million.
- Hotdog Festival
Around 150 million hot dogs are consumed every Fourth of July, and if there’s anything more American than eating hot dogs for Independence Day—that is joining Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs has been holding this highly expected event for over 40 years. Joey Chestnut holds the world record for eating 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
- Celebrate with a Bang
Fireworks are a staple of Independence Day celebrations. Americans spend over $1 billion on it every year. Fireworks were invented in China over 1,000 years ago. Chinese people used to use them to ward off unwanted guests. The tradition of having fireworks display has existed as long as the country itself, and we should thank John Adams for suggesting it. The first Independence Day fireworks were set off in Boston and Philadelphia in 1777, amid the Revolutionary War against Britain. They were illuminated in a grand display in the night sky to raise the spirits of the citizens.
More than spending the day eating, drinking and making merry with family and friends, take time to also think about the true meaning of this holiday. The Declaration of Independence has a special significance in infusing into our culture most of our values and beliefs — in liberty, equality, and individual rights. Happy Birthday, America!