Friday, July 19, 2024

Did You Know This About The 4th Of July

It is the big American holiday – but did you know these things?

The 4th of July is when the US celebrates its Independence Day. It is the huge summer holiday filled with bbq, fireworks, parades and more.  But did you know these things about the holiday?  The first organized celebration took place in 1777 in Philadelphia and Boston.  Four years later, Massachusetts made it an official state holiday. It wasn’t until almost a hundred years later when made it a federal holiday in 1870.  It was part of a package including New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

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Almost 87% of people plan to celebrate the day.  A whopping 47% plan on purchasing alcohol as one way to mark the founding of the country.  Beer is the top choice, followed by wine and then alcohol.

But despite those big numbers – did you know this is the most popular thing about the holiday – fireworks. They were there at the beginning and remain popular with 60% looking to watch the show. And not just the planned community as seen on TV fireworks. Since Covid, firework sales in America have grown to $2.3 billion, local American pyromaniacs spent three times more on fireworks in 2023 than they did in 2012.

And did you know blue is one of the hardest colors to make in a firework? The Italians in the 1800s figured out how to add colors. Putting metal salts which would glow and emit bright colors when heated created the dazzling spectrums of lights. While the boom is made by the explosion of gunpowder, the snap, crackle and pop are made with a little chemistry. The campfire-like crackle comes from small granules of bismuth compounds. The granules burn quickly, one after the other, giving the famed crackling sound.

The holiday is filled filled with food and 58% of the country will be grilling or barbecuing.  Grocery stories are making a killing selling top favorites of burger patties, hot dogs, deli salads, vegetable trays and mixed fresh vegetables, and potato chips (in that order). In a survey, ketchup is a top condiment for burgers followed by mustard, then mayo. When is comes to what to put on the burger cheese is at 67%, followed by lettuce then tomatoes.

For extreme eating, Nathan’s National Hot Dog Eating Contest can fill you up! The first was held in 1972 and continues at the original location on Coney Island. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the competition was dominated by the Japanese, but winners have branched out since. It is part of Major League Eating (MLE), the organization overseeing professional competitive eating events and television specials. While there are 150 million hot dogs eaten on the 4th, the world record at the contest is 76 within 10 minutes. Condiments are not allowed.

The Rankin Bass July 4th special
The Rankin Bass July 4th special

While the Flintstone’s did a July 4th special when they were in prime time (pre-streaming), the holiday also received a classic Rankin Bass stop-motion special. They squeezed the famous holiday characters Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer into a special to save the 4th. They mixed in a circus, magic, Mrs. Claus and more.

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On the other end of the entertainment spectrum is the famous Boston Symphony Fireworks concert. Started originally in 1929 with the first free Esplanade Concert, it was revived in 1974 and continues on TV to the delight of music lovers.

And lastly, did you know this about the 4th Of July? For the romantic minded, the backdrop of fireworks, beer and burgers make the 4th the 10th most popular day for marriage proposals.

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