4th of July: What is it and why do we celebrate the holiday with fireworks?

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Fireworks are nearly always a key part of our 4th of July activities in America — but ask most people if they know where this tradition began, and they may not know the answer. The vision for the celebratory tradition actually dates back to 1776.That is when then-future second president John Adams imagined — in a letter to his wife, Abigail — that a sparkling sky would honor the soon-to-be independent 13 colonies every year from that point onward.4TH OF JULY QUIZ: HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT INDEPENDENCE DAY?The man who would become the second president of the U.S. wrote, in part, on July 3, 1776, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.” He also wrote, “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more,” according to the National Archives.
Fireworks illuminate the sky above the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall during Independence Day celebrations in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 2021.
(Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)Just one day later, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by delegates to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.AMID NEW GUN LAWS, HERE’S THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THE ‘RIGHT TO KEEP AND TO BEAR ARMS’While some public recitations of the Declaration of Independence were greeted with “impromptu celebrations” from local militia in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on July 8, a formal pyrotechnics display would not light up the sky for another year, according to History.com.
Fireworks light up the night sky in this gorgeous display.
(iStock)In 1777, patriotic revelry rocked the first organized Fourth of July celebrations in Philadelphia — with fireworks dramatically lighting up the night sky.”The evening was closed with the ringing of bells … and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks (which began and concluded with 13 rockets) on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated,” according to the Pennsylvania Evening Post.FOX NEWS TO CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY WITH SPECIAL PROGRAMMING THROUGHOUT HOLIDAY WEEKEND”Everything was conducted with the greatest order and decorum, and the face of joy and gladness was universal.”
In Boston on July 4, 1777, city officials also set off fireworks to celebrate the new nation.
(iStock)City officials in Boston also set off fireworks on July 4, 1777.  Fireworks became available for sale to the public in 1783, the Farmer’s Almanac reported, and the tradition has lived on ever since then.MEET THE AMERICAN WHO GAVE US THE ‘CLEAN, WHOLESOME’ CORN DOGThis year, in 2022, buyers will spend about $2.3 billion on fireworks on the Fourth of July, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. 
Fireworks explode behind a United States flag during a 4th of July celebration at State Fair Meadowlands, in East Rutherford, N.J.
(AP)However, that does not mean everyone will be setting off fireworks. The skies over some western U.S. cities will stay dark for the third consecutive Fourth of July this year, as some major fireworks displays are canceled again in 2022.Some displays are nixed over wildfire concerns amid dry weather — while others are canceled because of enduring pandemic-related staffing and supply chain issues.”Unless you’re in a really remote area where that was the only show, most people will be able to find a show nearby.” Phoenix, Arizona, for example, canceled its three major Independence Day displays because it couldn’t obtain professional-grade fireworks, the Associated Press reported. Shows in several other cities around Phoenix are still scheduled. 
Fireworks are shown lighting up the Empire State Building along the Manhattan skyline during Macy’s 37th Annual Fourth of July fireworks show on July 4, 2013, in New York. 
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)”Unless you’re in a really remote area where that was the only show, most people will be able to find a show nearby,” Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, according to the AP.BEYOND DISNEY: 10 FUN ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS THIS SUMMER THAT WON’T BREAK THE BANKOverseas shipping, transportation in the U.S., rising insurance costs and labor shortages have led to the canceled displays — along with demand for fireworks shows at concerts, sports stadiums and the Fourth of July holiday that largely were absent during the first two years of the pandemic, she also said.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPMany local jurisdictions have banned the use of fireworks amid a drought, even with an early start of the annual rainy season that already has led to flooding in the U.S. Southwest, the AP noted as well. Fireworks are always prohibited in national forests.FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWSThose who plan to set off consumer-grade fireworks such as bottle rockets, firecrackers and ground-level fountains at home can expect to pay more for them. Costs are up 35% across the industry, the American Pyrotechnic Association estimates.The Associated Press, along with Janine Puhak, contributed reporting to this article.  Maureen Mackey is managing editor of lifestyle for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent on Twitter at @maurmack.

Mojtaba Sadira

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