Seven Unique Ways to Celebrate Independence Day

Independence Day, or the 4th of July, is a time to celebrate the independence of the United States and the values that make the country unique. It’s a time to reflect on our country’s history and, for many, a day to spend time with friends and family. 

The History of Independence Day 

When the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, complete independence from Great Britain was still considered a radical idea. By the middle of 1776, however, as things became more hostile, the desire for total independence became more popular. On June 7 of that year, the Second Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House, which is known today as Independence Hall, and Richard Henry Lee, the Virginia delegate, introduced a motion calling for independence. 

That day, Congress postponed a vote on the motion but appointed a five-man committee to draft a formal statement that justified a break with Great Britain. The committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, and Robert R. Livingston. 

On July 2nd, 1776, the Congress voted in favor of the resolution, and it was ratified by all 13 colonies on July 4th. Two days later, on July 6th, The Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence. 

Public readings of the Declaration were held on July 8th in Philadelphia’s Independence Square. The next year, Philadelphia celebrated with bonfires, fireworks, bells, and by adjourning Congress. 

On July 4th, 1826, 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was ratified, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died. Adams was 90 years old, and Jefferson was 83. 

Boston Tea Party 

A few years before the Declaration of Independence was created and formally adopted, the Boston Tea Party became the first major act of defiance to British rule. 

On December 16, 1773, American colonists who were angry at Britain for taxing them when they had no representation in Parliament dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbor at Griffin’s Wharf. It took the colonists more than three hours to dump the tea, which totaled more than 90,000 pounds. 

The event was led by Samuel Adams and his Sons of Liberty and organized by John Hancock. The names of the individuals involved remain largely unknown. 

Unique Ways to Celebrate Independence Day 

We all have our 4th of July traditions, but if you want to change it up this year, find a few ideas below for unique ways to celebrate. 

  1. Create a playlist
    • Independence Day has historically been celebrated with music and the ringing of bells, so create a playlist of your favorite or most patriotic songs to listen to while you celebrate July 4th. 
  1. Create a time capsule
    • Encapsulate what this year looks like as you celebrate America’s birthday. Include family drawings or pictures or a recent newspaper. Get creative! 
  1. Volunteer
    • Set aside time to volunteer for a group or organization you’re passionate about or that makes a difference in the lives of other Americans.  
  1. Make a care package
    • Create a care package for a service member by compiling different things like snacks, hygiene products, forms of entertainment, and more. The USPS offers free Military Care Kits, which include address labels, customs envelopes, and Priority Mail tape. 
  1. Patriotic potluck
    • Host a patriotic potluck! Make the theme consist of red, blue, and white food, or try some vintage recipes that were popular in early America.
  1. Play games or sports
    • In a letter to his wife after Congress voted in favor of independence, John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife that celebrations of Independence Day should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”
  1. Read the Declaration of Independence
    • Days after the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted, the first public readings of the document took place in Independence Square in Philadelphia. Celebrate the day by reading the document that serves as America’s most cherished symbol of freedom. 
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