Here are a few facts we think you might not know about how fireworks got to symbolize the Fourth of July in America.
John Adams, the father of fireworks on the 4th?
That’s right! John Adams, second president of the United States! Adams wrote a letter to his wife, Abagail on July 3. He said, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival… It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
But did you know that he thought the country was celebrating the wrong date? Well, he did! The continental congress approved a motion for the colonies to separate from England on July 2. In Adams’s mind, that was the original Independence Day. But, not until July 4 did delegates from the thirteen colonies vote to adopt the Declaration of Independence.
But what about the fireworks?
“One of the most elaborate celebrations in 1777 and the first organized celebration of its kind occurred in Philadelphia. This event had all of the elements of typical future celebrations–the discharge of cannon, one round for each state in the union, the ringing of bells, a dinner, the use of music, the drinking of toasts (it would subsequently be traditional to have one toast for each state in the union), “loud huzzas,” a parade, fireworks, and the use of the nation’s colors, in this case the dressing up of “armed ships and gallies” in the harbor.” Virginia Gazette.
America has been celebrating July 4 as our Independence Day since 1777, so go out and celebrate!