Bask In the Glow Of Independence Day With These Words

Few days light up the US like Independence Day—literally, in the case of how many fireworks shows go on all over the country. The holiday also goes by various iterations of the date it takes place every year: July 4, July 4th, and the Fourth of July.

Arguably the most patriotic of US holidays, Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Celebrations go on every year, but do you know the history behind the day and all of the terms that go with it?

What is Independence Day?

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence. With it, the Thirteen Colonies put out into the world that they were no longer owned by England a year after the start of the American Revolution.

The Founding Fathers actually voted for independence two days earlier on July 2. John Adams even wrote in a letter to his wife, Abigail, that the “second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America” that will be celebrated by succeeding generations. The prediction was just two days off, as it’s the signing, not the vote, that people celebrate every year.

The first commemoration happened in 1777, and Massachusetts was the first state to recognize the date in 1781. The US government doesn’t mandate national holidays, but Independence Day was set as a legal public holiday in 1870, and it became a paid holiday for federal employees in 1938.

Discover even more about the day known as the Fourth of July here!

How do people celebrate Independence Day?

Today, Independence Day is celebrated with all things red, white, and blue. Cities big and small put on fireworks shows for people who lay out on picnic blankets or pull up chairs. New York City, Boston, and Chicago have especially notable fireworks shows that are both extravagant and long. Parades are big events on the Fourth of July as well, with people in cities across New England and elsewhere marching down main street. Washington DC combines the best of both with a large parade on Constitution Avenue and a fireworks show on the National Mall.

Food is big on Independence Day, too. People bring their picnic gear and barbecues out during the day for classic cookout food like hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and ripe watermelon. Less casual eating occurs as well—the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is held in Coney Island every year as spectators watch in person and on TV.

Explode onto the scene this holiday with the words for the different types of fireworks.

Independence Day vocabulary

The history and celebrations associated with Independence Day are just the beginning. There’s a slew of words related to the holiday, from terms that help you understand why the date is important to the many words that cover how people celebrate.

Independence Day quiz

Now that you’re familiar with the backstory of Independence Day and looked over some of the key related terms (both fun and historical), it’s time to test what you really know about the most patriotic holiday on the US calendar.

Head over to the Independence Day quiz now!

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What other holidays and celebrations burst to life in July? Take a look!

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