Celebrating July 4th

Fourth of July celebrations are marked by patriotism, fireworks displays and outdoor fun. Block parties, picnics, barbecues, baseball games and family get-togethers are all common on July 4th.

History of July 4th

In 1776, the country adopted the Declaration of Independence. Since then, July 4th has been celebrated in America, and is also often called Independence Day as it marked the beginning of the country”s independence from British rule and taxation.

The year 1777 marked the first display of fireworks on the Fourth of July, and in 1870 Congress declared July 4th a holiday. When the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is a work holiday.

Ways to Celebrate the Fourth of July

July 4th celebrations are usually marked by large get-togethers of family and friends, outdoor activities and plenty of food.

Block parties and gatherings at the beach or public parks are popular. Daytime July 4th activities include organized sports, games, swimming and even card games at picnic tables. Nighttime, of course, is reserved for fireworks. Whether you”re watching a professional display or lighting sparklers outside your own house, the Fourth of July celebration isn”t complete without fireworks.

Many professional displays are very elaborate and are set to patriotic music. The safety hassles and worries are also absent with professional shows, but people who choose to buy and light their own fireworks should make sure they live in an area where fireworks are legal and that they take all necessary safety precautions.

July 4th Food and Drinks

Many families have Fourth of July traditions when it comes to what they eat and drink. Some of the most common foods include hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, coleslaw, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, cakes and pies. Regional touches such as Southern pulled pork or spiced shrimp or New England clambakes become important traditions handed down through generations and are as important on July 4th as fireworks.

Some Fourth of July cooks like to create a menu comprised of foods in patriotic colors. The easiest red, white and blue foods to make are the desserts, as most dessert frostings and toppings can have food coloring added or they can be topped with decorative flag patterns.

Safety for Independence Day

Safety concerns regarding both food and fireworks should not be overlooked on July 4th.

Because most July 4th dining happens outdoors, it is important to ensure that no food spoils in the summer heat. Hot foods should be kept piping hot, and cold foods shouldn”t be left out in the hot sun. Coolers and covers are essential for most get-togethers. If you”re transporting uncooked meat, wrap it carefully so that it doesn”t contaminate any other foods. Keep raw meats separate from other dishes, and make sure the containers holding them are sealed and don”t leak.

As for fireworks, many recommend simply watching a professional show instead of attempting to light your own. On July 4th most every city and town in the United States has a public fireworks show of some sort, whether at a local school or park or at a large stadium.

However, many people believe that their July 4th celebrations aren”t complete without their own fireworks. They insist on maintaining the traditions of their childhood and prefer to set off their own. If you do, ensure that fireworks are legal in your area. Follow directions on the fireworks” packaging and take these precautions:

  • Have a bucket of water ready in case any fireworks don”t go out or anything else catches on fire.
  • Never try to re-light a dud.
  • Put used fireworks in a bucket of water after use.
  • Don”t leave any fireworks on the ground or in the street; people may step on them and injure themselves.
  • Don”t let children light fireworks. Sparklers may be used by children over age five.
  • If children are using sparklers, make sure they”re not wearing loose clothing and that any long hair is tied back out of the way.

With just a little planning, your July 4th celebrations will go off without a hitch.