The first US Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8th of 1776, not July 4th.
It was Celebrated with the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia’s Independence Square. This reading was accompanied by the of the Liberty Bell and band music. People were summoned to it’s reading by the ringing of the Liberty Bell. After the reading, the town celebrated with bonfires, bells, and fireworks.
It was abolitionists in the 1830s who gave it the name “Liberty Bell.” The bell had already been hanging over Independence Hall (originally Pennsylvania State House) since 1751, some twenty-five years before it rang out in 1776.
Most people know the inscription on the Liberty Bell is:
“Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
But did you know where that came from? It’s a quote from an Old Testament Verse, Leviticus 25:10
And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from 13 colonies. The average age of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45.
The lead author of The Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, was 33.
The oldest delegate was Benjamin Franklin. He was 70 and from Pennsylvania.
The youngest was Thomas Lynch, Jr. He was 27 and from South Carolina.
In 1776, there were 2.5 million people already living in the new nation. Today the population of the U.S.A. is 339.06 million.
Fireworks are often the highlight of the US 4th of July celebration. Did you know that fireworks were first authorized to be used in for 4th of July celebrations by Congress in 1777?
Or that the word for firework in Japanese, ‘Hanabi’, which actually means “fire-flower”.
It’s estimated that more than 14,000 fireworks displays light up U.S. skies each 4th of July.