Independence Day, also known as Fourth of July, is the most important national holiday in the USA. Due to its historic and patriotic significance, it is celebrated with large parades and fireworks throughout the country. Learn everything about Independence Day now!
Independence Day is the day of American independence, which is celebrated on July 4. The history of this holiday goes back to the 18th century: Before 1776, the Thirteen Colonies of America, located in today’s New England, were still subject to British rule and had to pay taxes for imported goods such as sugar, coffee or liquor.
The American colonies began to complain about paying taxes to a smaller country which was also thousands of miles away. They had no rights and no representatives in the British parliament, so the slogan "no taxation without representation" became their mantra.
Consequently, many colonists began to boycott and even throw British goods into the sea, e.g. at the well-known Boston Tea Party. Thus, on July 2, 1776, representatives of the 13 American colonies voted for independence from the British rule because they felt they were being treated unfairly.
Two days later, by signing the Declaration of Independence, the American colonies declared independence from the British Empire on July 4, 1776. This important document was mainly written by Thomas Jefferson and then adopted and signed by the members of the Continental Congress. The most famous paragraph in the Declaration of Independence is as follows:
"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...."
At the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, the 13 colonies were already at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain. On July 4, 1776, this declaration not only declared that the colonies were no longer under British rule, but also detailed the importance of freedom and the rights of man.
It defined the political and moral philosophy for the country that was to become the United States of America. The war ended in 1783, and the new nation was busy writing the later Constitution of the USA.
One year after the signing of the American Declaration of Independence, big celebrations with speeches and parades already took place in Philadelphia. The city decorated the harbor ships in red, white and blue. Besides, the former 13 colonies celebrated by firing 13 cannonballs, and fireworks lit up the sky.
John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers, wrote to his wife that Independence Day should be celebrated with fireworks large enough to be seen "from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more". Thus, the first Independence Day celebration on July 4, 1777 was celebrated with a big bang and the tradition of setting off fireworks began.
Today, pyrotechnicians work 11 months a year on the production and choreography of fireworks for the one day when their work goes up in flames, so to speak. The American Pyrotechnics Association estimates that on the Fourth of July more than 14,000 fireworks light up the night sky across America. In New York City alone, there are 14 locations from which they are fired.
Independence Day is celebrated across the USA with parades during the day, fireworks at night and everything typically American: Barbecues, picnics, concerts, fairs, family gatherings, political speeches and ceremonies – there is something for everyone! Balloons, banners and decorations in red, white and blue – the colors of the American flag – are proudly displayed everywhere.
The US capital Washington D.C. naturally takes this holiday very seriously and puts its heart and soul into celebrating this patriotic day with a spectacular Independence Day parade and fireworks at the National Mall. Famous for their size and variety are also the fireworks in Boston or New York City, where the largest fireworks display in America takes place.
There are also other special events, such as the Harbor Festival in Boston or the famous "Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest" in Coney Island, New York - an annual hot dog eating contest on July 4th.
How would you feel about not only living and working in the USA for as long as you like, but also having the chance to take part in the presidential elections as a US citizen? Green Card holders can apply for US citizenship after only five years of living in the USA!
In celebration of America’s Independence Day, the US immigration authorities (USCIS) invite thousands of people to give their "Oath of Allegiance" at a public Naturalization Ceremony. Naturalization applicants only become US citizens after giving their Oath of Allegiance: "They will be able to enjoy all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of US citizenship", said former USCIS Director León Rodríguez.
If you want to learn more, we have already published an article about the Oath of Allegiance and the Naturalization Ceremony. Find out if there is a naturalization ceremony close to you and attend the celebrations. Even if you are just part of the audience now, you might soon be on stage yourself!
Last but not least we have listed some interesting facts about this holiday for you:
We also celebrate the world's biggest birthday party and wish everyone a glorious American Independence Day. Happy 4th of July!