Today, July 4, 2021, marks the 245th anniversary of the founding of the United States (US). Since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, this day has been an important federal holiday in the US. In 1776, on this day, American colonies gained independence from British rule. The Declaration states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Every year, parades, fireworks, carnivals, fairs, political speeches and numerous ceremonies mark this day. Americans also wear red, white and blue gear.
Decision to separate from British rule began on July 2, 1776
Though the American colonies gained independence on July 4, 1776, the process began two days ago, on July 2, 1776, when the Continental Congress voted to declare the independence. On that day, 12 of the 13 American colonies officially decided to separate from British rule. Among those who pronounced the American colonies as free states included Thomas Jefferson, a renowned statesman and diplomat at that time, who later became the third President of America (1801-09), and Benjamin Franklin, a political philosopher.
Of grand fireworks, and a popular US dish
First celebrations at the White House: In 1801, or the first time the July 4 celebrations were held at the White House. Since then, it’s become an annual feature.
Fireworks and July 4: The tradition of fireworks was started in Philadelphia city a year after the American colonies gained independence from British rule. To commemorate a year of independence, fireworks were set off on July 4, 1777, when a salute of 13 gunshots was conducted. Since then, staging grand fireworks has become a ritual of the July 4 celebrations. Also, on July 3, 1776, a day before the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Adams, one of the founding fathers, had written to his wife, Abigail Adams, that the day must 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.” To find out more about the July 4 celebrations this year in various parts of the US, click on this link.
Hot Dogs! Yes, you read that right: When it comes to food, hot dogs are associated with July 4. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, an American association that promotes the hot dog and sausage industries, “On Independence Day, Americans are expected to enjoy 150 million hot dogs, enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times.”
Swami Vivekananda’s connection with July 4
On July 4, 1898, which is 123 years ago, spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda, wrote a poem titled ‘To the fourth of July’ to mark America’s independence. Incidentally, Swami Vivekananda passed away exactly four years later in 1902 on the same date — July 4 — when he was just 39 at Belur Math in West Bengal. According to the website of Belur Math, Swami Vivekananda “was travelling with some American disciples in Kashmir” on July 4 1898, when he wrote the following poem.
What else happened on July 4?
Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826. Two more Presidents of the United States — James Monroe and John Adams — also died on July 4. The 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4.