How Fireworks Became An Important Fourth Of July Tradition

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In America, the Fourth of July is when we honor our independence. For it, we usually get a day off (if it falls on a workday of course) and we take to pool parties, a BBQ, or even a beach day to celebrate. Later in the evening, no matter where you are, you're guaranteed to spot one thing in the sky: fireworks.

The tradition, which has been around since our founding fathers, symbolizes our freedom, which we retrieved from Great Britain during the American Revolution in the 18th century.

As History explains, the Fourth of July has been an official federal holiday since 1941. The tradition, however, dates back to July of 1776, when John Adams penned a letter to his wife Abigail Adams. In it, John Adams wrote about how the Declaration of Independence should be celebrated throughout the entire nation with sports, parades, bells, and illuminations (ding ding ding...fireworks!), especially by generations to come.

Smithsonian details that a year after the Declaration of Independence was signed, Philadelphia hosted a big party that resembled modern festivities, including fireworks, music, alcohol, and even a parade. According to PRI, it wasn’t until after the Revolution that fireworks on the Fourth of July began to spread. This was because fireworks were far too expensive, unsafe, tricky, and at the time, firing cannons and muskets were the craze.

Gradually over the decades, fireworks began to gain popularity throughout the nation. But if you thought that fireworks were created just for the Fourth of July, think again.

Paramount Pictures, Red Granite Pictures

The history behind these colorful pyrotechnics dates back to many centuries before our independence. According to SLATE, early fireworks were used by the military as munitions and entertainment. As it turns out, by the 12th-century people in China found a new trick that improved the burning fire arrow. For this, they attached small packs of gunfire to the arrow, which ultimately led to the invention of rockets.

As time passed, fireworks gained more popularity, as people liked how they brought more light into the sky during celebrations. The only difference in fireworks from back then to now is that they're safer to use. Once the Fourth of July makes its grand entrance, you’ll know a bit more about the history behind this pyrotechnics.

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