10 things you didn’t know about American Independence Day
For most of us out there the Fourth of July is simply a regular old day. This year it happens to be a Tuesday. Next year it will be a Wednesday. But to any self-respecting American out there, the Fourth of July is an entirely different entity. It’s Independence Day. It wasw this day in 1776 when those plucky thirteen American colonies officially joined together to become the United States of America. As such, Americans all over the globe commemorate this occasion by eating lots of food and being generally jovial.
In all honesty, the entire ordeal can seem like a bit of an oddity to any non-Americans, hence why we’ve collated a bunch of Fourth of July-related facts that you can use to help pretend that you understand why everyone’s really loud and excited today.
- Independence Day should technically be celebrated on July 2nd (Or at least it would be if John Adams had his way). It's only celebrated on the 4th as that’s when congress officially accepted the declaration Jefferson had made two days earlier. We guess it was also much catchier.
- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826. And no, fireworks were not involved.
- On July 4, 1778, George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for his soldiers in order to celebrate the holiday. This tradition of heavy drinking doesn’t seem to have slowed since.
- It wasn’t until 1791 that the first record of July 4th being referred to as Independence Day was ever recorded. What was it called before then? No idea, but we’d like to think it was something along the lines of ‘Happy Super Awesome American Freedom Day’.
- In 2012, retailers totaled $368.6 million of sales in fireworks. Though we're also pretty sure that consumers got a worthy "bang" for their buck.
- The oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July Parade in Rhode Island. They’ve been making an occasion of it since 1785 in the most American way possible: by firing guns.
- Americans consume roughly 155 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July each year. To add some perspective that’s about a half hot dog for every American.
- There's nothing that says Fourth of July more than the Stars and Stripes of the American flag. Which is why 87.5% of imported U.S. flags are made in China.
- Food has always played an important part of the 4th of July festivities, though the typical spread of hotdogs and burgers is more of a recent innovation. In 1776, John Adams and his wife indulged in a celebratory feast of turtle soup.
- The original draft of the Declaration of Independence was lost. Makes your mistakes at work seem a tad tame now, doesn’t it?