Most of us look forward to the Fourth of July every year for the break from work it brings and fun events that happen. However, there is much more to this special day of the year than you may know. Before you start researching where and when to buy your bulk fireworks for your big celebration, here are some fun facts to know about the Fourth.
The Fourth Isn’t Technically the Anniversary of Independence Day
The Fourth of July is called Independence Day, so many people assume it falls on the anniversary of the signing of that all-important document, the Declaration of Independence. However, the reality is a bit more complicated than that. The deed was not actually signed by the 56 signers until August 2, 1775, almost a full month after July 4.
Things started happening in July of 1776, though. On the first day of the month, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. On July 2, 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favor of the motion for independence, after which the delegates got busy revising and debating the language of the draft statement.
After two days of discussions, Congress officially approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4. This is why we celebrate that date today, yet only John Hancock and Charles Thompson, the president and secretary of the Continental Congress at the time, signed the draft document on that date. Most delegates signed the parchment on August 2, while a few others did so later in the month.
Americans Stock Up on Fireworks
Are you looking forward to hopefully seeing an excellent firework display in your hometown this Fourth of July, as many cities run them again after the interruptions in 2020? If so, you are not alone. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, over $1 billion is spent by Americans on fireworks every year, with $885 million of that coming from consumer (rather than display) fireworks revenue.
A significant proportion of the yearly spend on fireworks happens in July. In 2016 figures from the Pyrotechnics Association’s website, American consumers spent approximately $825 million on fireworks for the federal holiday that year, a $70 million increase over sales in 2015.
The Flag Code Says No to Clothes with Flags
When the Fourth of July rolls around each year, many of us show our American pride by wearing clothing adorned with the country’s flag, such as tees, caps, flip flops, bathing suits, overalls, and the like. However, did you know that technically this violates a federal code?
According to the US Flag Code, the symbol should “never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.” The code was adopted by Congress in the 1940s in a bid to preserve respect for what the flag represents and how it is used. The idea is that the symbol should not be used on things that may be thrown away.
Do not feel you have to bin your flag-adorned gear, though, as you will not be charged with any crimes for wearing it. The code is a set of guidelines for how the government suggests people should act, not how they must act. It is not legally enforceable, so breaking the code does not come with any penalties for non-compliance or include enforcement provisions.
Hot Dogs are the Food of Choice
If you are like many people in America, you probably put hot dogs on your must-eat list for the Fourth of July. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council reports that Americans spent over $7.68 billion on hot dogs and sausages in US supermarkets in all of 2020. Much of the country’s annual consumption happened on the July federal holiday.
The Council’s website states that on Independence Day, around 150 million hot dogs are enjoyed nationwide. If you want to get an idea of how many this is visually, consider that it is enough to stretch from Washington DC to Los Angeles at least five times!
Thirteen Isn’t Unlucky for the Liberty Bell
Another fun fact to learn is that the Liberty Bell and the number 13 are not considered an unlucky association. In fact, at 2 PM Eastern time every Fourth of July, child descendants of original Declaration of Independence signers tap the bell 13 times. While this symbolic gesture occurs, bells across the country also ring 13 times. This number represents the original 13 states involved in the Declaration.
As you can see, there is more to the Fourth of July national holiday than meets the eye. As you prepare for the festivities this year, stop, and think about some of the other factors involved in this memorable date.