Independence Day 2022: what is the US 4 July holiday, and how do Americans celebrate it?

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Americans are among the most patriotic people in the world, waving their Stars and Stripes as a proud sign of their diverse country.

Every year on July 4th, the United States commemorates Independence Day, with celebrations such as games and sports shows, fireworks, parades, concerts and street fairs.

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So what is Independence Day, how is it celebrated in the 50 states – and how is it celebrated this year? You need to know.

US flags are flown across America as the nation celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the US Declaration of Independence (Image: Getty Images)

What is Independence Day?

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Independence Day is a national federal holiday in the United States.

It is a celebration of the original 13 colonies of states that became legally independent from the British monarchy.

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On June 2, 1776, the Continental Congress—a meeting of representatives from the colonies—voted to make America a united, free, and independent state.

On July 4, 1918, American soldiers drove through the streets waving the Stars and Stripes in celebration (Image: Getty Images)

On July 4th, the annually celebrated day, the United States was officially declared independent.

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That day, five of the MPs wrote and published the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining that decision, of which Thomas Jefferson was the lead author.

The vote and subsequent declaration followed years of the American Revolution against King George III, the then monarch of Great Britain.

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Jefferson wrote of the king: “He waged a cruel war against human nature itself, violated its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captured them, and cast them into the slavery of another hemispere brought or caused to suffer a miserable death in their transport here.”

Chefs prepare Stars and Stripes desserts inspired by the US national flag for a buffet on July 4th (Image: GettyImages)

Thomas Jefferson and the other signer of the Declaration, John Adams, both died coincidentally on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1826.

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Both had served as Presidents of the United States and died of natural causes.

How was the 4th of July celebrated historically?

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Since the declaration was signed, there have been parties and parades to celebrate the importance of the day.

The Manhattan skyline is lit up in red, white and blue, including the Empire State Building (Image: Getty Images)

Thirteen shots were fired in salute in Rhode Island on the first anniversary of independence in 1977, once in the morning and once in the evening. Elsewhere, the Continental Congress enjoyed a former dinner in Philadelphia.

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Across the United States, people celebrated the day with toasts, speeches, prayers, music, US Army parades and fireworks.

In 1978, General George Washington marked the Fourth of July with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute. Docked ships were clad in patriotically colored pennants.

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In Paris, John Adams and fellow Continental Congressman Benjamin Franklin hosted a dinner for US friends.

It was not until 1870 that the US Congress made the day a holiday for its federal employees. It took another 68 years before it became a paid federal holiday.

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Historically, when July 4th fell on a Sunday, it was not celebrated until Monday July 5th.

How is July 4th celebrated now?

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Since July is typically a hot month in the US, most of the celebrations take place outdoors.

Baseball and American football games, barbecues and fireworks are synonymous with the day Americans enjoy national foods. From burgers to fried chicken to hot dogs and cookies, the day is a true indulgence of quintessential American living.

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States will also hold parades and concerts in their cities, and at 12 noon on Independence Day, a gun salute will be fired for each state in the United States, dubbed the “Salute to the Union.”

New York City has the largest fireworks display in the country sponsored by Macy’s, with more than 22 tons of pyrotechnics fired in the past.

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Elsewhere, famous exhibitions are held in Seattle at Lake Union; in San Diego across Mission Bay, in Boston along the Charles River and on the National Mall in Washington, DC

The holiday is also one of the busiest in the US as many families use the three-day weekend to visit and vacation with families in other states.

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On a smaller scale, families and friends gather to enjoy food, dress in red, white and blue, and decorate their homes in patriotic colors and US flags.

How is it celebrated this year?

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Last year, in 2021, the US celebrated National Day again after the coronavirus pandemic spoiled all 2020 celebrations.

The White House celebrations will be led by President Biden, who will be hosting guests and likely to thank the country in these trying times of a cost of living crisis.

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In the US, fireworks and celebrations are held in Washington, DC, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Florida, Tennessee, Texas and San Francisco, among others.

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