Friday, 4 July 2008
Here you are a wikipedia article on the fourth of July and Independence Day celebrations.
Have fun wherever you are!
In the United States, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Congress approved the wording of the Declaration on July 4 and then sent it to the printer. Whether John Hancock, as the elected President of the Second Continental Congress, or anyone else signed the document that day is unknown, because that document has been lost — presumably destroyed in the printing process. Hancock's name and that of a witness do appear on the typeset broadside that was published within a few days. On August 2 in the following month, an engrossed document in script form was signed by Hancock and other delegates.
Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, picnics, baseball games, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States, but is often also viewed as simply a summer festival, apart from its patriotic overtones.
Independence Day, the only holiday that celebrates the United States, is a national holiday marked by patriotic displays. Similar to other summer-themed events, Independence Day celebrations often take place outdoors. Independence Day is a federal holiday, so all non-essential federal institutions (like the postal service and federal courts) are closed on that day. Many politicians make it a point on this day to appear at a public event to praise the nation's heritage, laws, history, society, and people.
Families often celebrate Independence Day with a picnic or barbecue, and take advantage of the day off and in some years, long weekend to gather with relatives. Decorations (e.g., streamers, balloons, and clothing) are generally colored red, white, and blue, the colors of the American flag. Parades often are in the morning, while fireworks displays occur in the evening at such places as parks, fairgrounds, or town squares.
Independence Day fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem ("The Star-Spangled Banner"), "God Bless America", "America the Beautiful", "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", "This Land Is Your Land", "Stars and Stripes Forever", and, regionally, "Yankee Doodle" in northeastern states and "Dixie" in southern states. Some of the lyrics recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812.
Firework shows are held in many states, and many fireworks are sold for personal use or as an alternative to a public show. Safety concerns have led some states to ban fireworks or limit the sizes and types allowed. Illicit traffic transfers many fireworks from less restrictive states.
Major displays are held in New York on the East River, in Chicago on Lake Michigan, Boston on the Charles River, in St. Louis on the Mississippi River, and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. During the annual Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival, Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario host one of the world's largest fireworks displays, over the Detroit River, to celebrate both American Independence Day and Canada Day.
While the official observance always falls on July 4th, participation levels may vary dependent upon which day of the week the 4th falls. If the holiday falls in the middle of the week, some fireworks displays and celebrations may take place during the weekend for convenience, again, varying by region.