The Fourth of July is a great excuse to kick back and to throw a massive summer cookout. We love to get together with friends and family and pig out on all-American favorites like juicy hamburgers, sizzling hot dogs, and creamy homemade peach ice cream… you know, all those summer party foods. Before the cookout, there’s the local parade where there is plenty of flag waving, marching bands, and red, white, and blue. In the evening we stretch out in the park to watch booming colorful fireworks and relish the warm weather. For history buffs, the day is filled with references to the Declaration of Independence. But mostly, it’s the day we celebrate our nation.
But Independence Day has not always been about barbecues and parades. Over two centuries ago, rag tag bands of patriots were fighting for freedom from the British, hoping that one day the colonies could be a separate, independent entity.
Initial battles of the Revolutionary War began in 1775 with the most radical colonies, but by 1776, representatives from all thirteen colonies decided to declare independence.
That July, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. This historic document, drafted by Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, changed the destiny of the colonies and formed a new nation, The United States of America.
Most of us learned all about early America in our history classes, but what about what’s not in the textbooks? The somewhat sketchy details of the Fourth of July conceal a treasure trove of trivia. That history includes misinterpreted dates, food and flag legends, old and new traditions, as well as highly coincidental deaths. Learn more about Independence Day and impress your friends with these fun facts.
Biggest Hot Dog Holiday Of The Year
Summertime backyard barbecues are nothing without hot dogs. But the Fourth of July is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year, when more than 155 million hot dogs are consumed. This is more than enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times! Even though they are an American staple, no one really knows where the hot dog even came from, but it is likely that the hot dog is derived from common European sausages brought over by butchers.
Founding Fathers’ Celebratory Meals
Today, we eat burgers and hot dogs by the dozen on Independence Day. Our Founding Fathers, however, feasted on completely different foods to celebrate the Nation’s birthday. According to the stories, John Adams and his wife indulged in turtle soup, New England poached salmon with egg sauce, green peas, and boiled new potatoes in jackets for their July 4th meal in 1776, followed by Indian pudding or Apple Pandowdy for dessert. Turtle soup? Not sure that would fly at this year’s 4th of July cookout.
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