4th Of July Traditions: Eight Ways Americans Celebrate Independence

The 4th of July is often filled with parades, barbecues, fireworks, and impromptu baseball games. Families, friends, and neighbors often get together to enjoy scarfing down good food, talking, and lighting off colorful fireworks.

The holiday was officially created in 1941, though the tradition of celebrating America’s Independence Day goes back to the 1700s and the american Revolution.

It all began on July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and the Declaration of independence from Great Britain was adopted by delegates two days later.

The move resulted in a battle from 1775 until 1783, when the British withdrew from the American colonies, leaving the United States to become a country.

Since then, Americans have remembered the battles, lives lost, the strength, and the courage it took for the founders of the United States to declare themselves independent of Great Britain — a choice that amounted to treason.

And since that time, whether it was an official government holiday or not, Americans have acknowledged the 4th of July as the birth of American independence.

In celebration of Independence Day, The Inquisitr would like to bring you eight ways Americans celebrate the holiday.

1. Parades

Bristol Rhode Island Fourth Of July Parade

From midnight parades to ones that happen at a more decent hour, Americans love parades. In good weather, small towns and large cities across America line the streets to see floats, horses, cheerleaders, military units, and marching bands pass by, often waving flags as participants hand out candy.

The most unique of these parades is, perhaps, the Bristol Fourth of July Parade, held in Bristol, Rhode Island. With its inception in 1785, it is the oldest 4th of July celebration in the United States.

2. Barbecues

Fourth Of July Barbecue Traditions

Because who doesn’t love burgers, brats, hot dogs, and steak (or veggie burgers)? Whether rain or shine, it is safe to bet there will be a grill burning in almost every neighborhood in America on Independence Day. Whether they are shared with family, friends, and/or neighbors, backyard barbecues and block parties are a perfect way to build community and celebrate independence.

3. Buying Fireworks

Fourth Of July Includes Fireworks Stands

And who can resist blowing things up? Taking a trip to the local fireworks stand to pick up some sparklers, ground flowers, Roman candles, and even some mortars (where they’re legal, of course) is an American tradition. However, it seems  that setting them off a week before the 4th of July is also a tradition.

4. Going To See A Fireworks Show

Fireworks On 4th Of July In Portland

Don’t want to blow things up? Don’t worry, there are plenty of fireworks shows across the country, and even on TV, for you to watch. while it isn’t the same thing as lighting the fuse on your own, these fireworks shows won’t disappoint. While many cities hold their fireworks shows on the Fourth, some hold theirs on the weekend or the day before.

5. Consuming Ice Cream

Ice Cream Included In Fourth Of July

Unless you’re lactose intolerant, we recommend either making or buying some ice cream to help you cool down on Independence Day. With a heat wave in the West and normally hot temperatures in the rest of the country, ice cream and popsicles are the perfect way to cool off on Thursday.

6. Flying The Flag

Fourth Of July Traditions Involve The Flag

What could be more independencey (yes, we made that word up) than flying the American flag? While US military bases will celebrate Independence Day with a gun salute at noon, called the “salute to the union.” Troops will fire one gun for each state in the United States. But since gun salutes are frowned upon in almost all neighborhoods, we’ll stick with suggesting you hang the American flag and consider the troops that have fought over the years for our continued freedom.

7. Festivals!

Navy Demonstration During Fourth Of July Festival

Festivals are classic, wacky, and full of uniqueness. While your standard festival will include fair food, classic cars, and bluegrass music, one town in Alaska wins the wacky award for the Pink Salmon festival. Deprived of the darkness needed for fireworks, residents in Valdez have come up with a new way to celebrate the Fourth of July — kayak jousting. At least the water’s more a more comfortable landing spot than the ground.

8. Eating Contests

Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest 4th Of July

Again, food. While eating contests usually aren’t for the faint of heart, they are certainly geared toward those who love food. Especially, it seems, for those who love scarfing down hot dogs. And at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York City, you can do just that. The tradition supposedly started as a way for two friends to settle a dispute.

However, what was probably meant as a one-time man-battle has turned into an almost 100-year tradition that now includes both a men’s and women’s championship. This year’s contest was picked up by ESPN.


So, whether you are lighting off fireworks, firing up the barbecue, spending time with friends, or even jousting in kayacks, we at The Inquisitr would like to wish you a Happy 4th of July!

[Images via US Navy, ShutterStock, Bill Koplitz, ShutterStockSt0rmz, Omnibus, US NavyDavid Shankbone, and Victorgrigas (Featured)]