Blue, white and red color the month of July because the United States of America celebrates the most important holiday for Americans, Independence Day. It has been 241 years since July 4, 1776, when the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence and separated from the British Empire.
And it will be during this month when you can see more flags decorating the front of houses all around the country and when patriotism is more intense.
The way to celebrate this day has varied very little since the end of the 18th century: barbecues, parades, picnics and fireworks. Nowadays, adults and children not only enjoy the traditional but also enjoy going to the beaches, the fairs or the patios of their houses.
But the most colorful and enthusiastic celebration is found in the capital of the country, Washington D.C., where thousands get together every year to wave the United States’ flag in front of the temple of their democracy: The Capitol. Families from all the states and tourists extend their picnic blankets along the three miles of the esplanade that is the National Mall to pay tribute to the homeland with the official U.S. menu: barbequed meat, potato salad, corn on the cob, watermelons, cookies and cupcakes.
The most common traditions of this month:
• THE BARBEQUES, July 4 should be celebrated with a good picnic with family or friends, usually barbequing hamburgers and hot dogs. It is estimated that 150 million hot dogs are eaten in the country during the celebration.
• THE MOVIES, there is no better time to watch movies like “1776” or “The Patriot” which are often broadcast and watched during that time.
• THE COMPETITIONS, there are fun competitions and different eating contests to see who is faster in eating dozens of watermelons or more hotdogs. For over a century, New York has hosted the Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest on July 4, the world’s largest hotdog-eating contest, televised and watched by nearly two million people.
• THE PARADES, another classic activity of the Independence Day festivities. In different cities across the country, colorful parades with participating bands are organized and are followed with enthusiasm by citizens.
• THE FRAUNCES TAVERN, the story tells that George Washington bid farewell to his troops by inviting them to a banquet at the Fraunces Tavern, which had opened in 1762. It is now an important site to visit in New York because it is also a museum with a display of objects from the independence time and offers food and drinks from that period.
• THE FIREWORKS, they are the culmination of the celebrations of the day. In every city around the United States, there are firework displays for Independence Day. The options: to watch them from the New York Empire State Building, from the esplanade of the Capitol in Washington or from a New York cruise. Nearly 14,000 firework displays are held throughout the country.
Did you know?
The Fourth of July has been a federal holiday since 1941. Though that may seem like a long time for the country to wait to celebrate the independence it declared in 1776, the tradition of the Fourth of July, often referred to as Independence Day, dates back to the dawn of the American Revolution and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Since then, July 4th has been recognized as the dawn of American independence, and celebrations that included fireworks and parades can be traced back to the 18th century.
On July 4, 1777, the city of Philadelphia, which would become the first capital of the United States of America, held the first annual commemoration of American independence, and exactly one year later George Washington ordered that all of his soldiers be offered double rations of rum to commemorate the anniversary. In 1781, Massachusetts was the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday, and the day was actually declared a federal holiday by the U.S. Congress in 1870.
However, that declaration did not grant a paid holiday to federal employees. That benefit came in 1941, which is why that year is now recognized as the first year when the Fourth of July officially became a federal holiday.
Haz clic para leer en Español: Julio: mes de independencia y celebraciones