10 Surprising Facts About July 4th Traditions

1. July 4th, specifically, celebrates when the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776. The signing of the Declaration, however, was not for another month.

2. July 4th didn’t become a national holiday until 1870, nearly 100 years after the colonies obtained their freedom in the Revolutionary War.

3. At least 40 people, in addition to Paul Revere, rode on horseback to alert Boston patriots “The Bristish are coming.”

4. They also didn’t shout “The British are coming.” The information was passed discretely.  Furthermore, many American colonists still considered themselves to be British and likely referred to the soldiers as “Regulars.”

5. There are no archival records proving Betsy Ross created the first American flag.

6. Several versions of the U.S. flag predate the one credited to Betsy Ross. Early examples included The British Union Jack, the word “Liberty, “a beaver, pine tree and a rumored snake with the phrase “Don’t tread on me.”

7. The Pledge of Allegiance was written over a century after America’s founding, in 1892.

8. The National Anthem (“The Star-Spangled Banner”) was not written about the Revolutionary War. It was written about the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, as witnessed by poet/lawyer Francis Scott Key.

9. Apple pie was brought to the United States by European settlers, which makes the phrase “As American as apple pie” ironic.

10. Fireworks are a tradition adopted from China, where they were invented 2,000 years ago.


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