9 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About The Fourth Of July
- Congress didn’t actually vote for independence on July 4th.
The Continental Congress reconvened on July 1, and on the following day 12 of the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 2.
The Declaration of Independence was only sign on July 4th by John Hancock, and Charles Thomson. It was not signed by the other 54 and resigned by John Hancock and Charles Thomson until August 2.
2) The first Independence Day celebrations were not much different than today's.
After years of pent-up frustration, the colonist let loose upon hearing the words of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Military soldiers and civilians in the Bowling Green section of Manhattan tore down a statue of King George III and later melted it into bullets; the King’s coat of arms was used as kindling for a bonfire in Philadelphia; and in Savannah, Georgia, the citizens burned the King in effigy and held a mock funeral for their royal foe,
On July 8, 1776, the first public readings of the Declaration were held in Philadelphia's Independence Square to the ringing of bells and band music. One year later, on July 4, 1777, Philadelphia marked Independence Day by adjourning Congress and celebrating with bonfires, bells and fireworks.
The custom eventually spread to other towns, both large and small, where the day was marked with processions, oratory, picnics, contests, games, military displays and fireworks. There were even ships decked out in patriotic colors lining harbors and streamers littering city streets. Once you get past the mock funerals and rioting of 1776, modern Independence Day celebrations have stuck close to the traditions started in 1777. Observations throughout the nation became even more common at the end of the War of 1812 with Great Britain.
3) MASSACHUSETTS WAS THE FIRST STATE TO RECOGNIZE THE HOLIDAY.
Massachusetts state to recognized the Fourth of July as an official holiday on July 3, 1781, making it the first state to do so. It wasn't until June 28, 1870 that Congress decided to start designating federal holidays, with the first four being New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. This decreed that those days were holidays for federal employees. However, there was a distinction. The Fourth was a holiday "within the District of Columbia" only. It would take years of new legislation to expand the holiday to all federal employees.
4) During the Revolutionary war, George Washington gave his soldiers a special treat for the holiday.
On July 4, 1778 George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for his soldiers. He also ordered a cannon salute to celebrate the occasion.
Drinking was a large part of historical Fourth of July Celebrations - it was traditional to drink 13 toasts, one for each state of the union.
5) There were 3 presidents that died on the 4th of July.
In a bizarre coincidence founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both political adversaries died within five hours of each other on July 4, 1826, on our nation’s 50th birthday.
The 3rd James Monroe died July 4,1831.
6) Calvin Coolidge is the only president to be born on the 4th of July.
Calvin Coolidge was the 30th president of the United States born on July 4, 1872.
7) Fireworks are a massive industry.
According to the American Pyrotechnics Association Americans spent over $1 billion on fireworks in 2017.
8) July 4 is the biggest hot dog day of the year.
Americans consume roughly 150 million hot dogs on the 4th of July.
Nathan’s hot dog eating contest, which is over a century old, takes place on the 4th of July. The current record held by Joey Chestnut is 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
9) WE'LL SPEND BILLIONS ON FOOD and Drink.
Americans will spend big on food and drinks this Fourth. Big to the tune of around $7.1 billion when all is said and done, according to the National Retail Federation. This includes food and other cookout expenses, averaging out to about $73 per person participating in a barbecue, outdoor cookout or picnic.
Then comes the booze. According to the Beer Institute that Americans will spend around $1 billion on beer for their Fourth celebrations, and more than $450 million on wine.