Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, is filled with parades, flags flying, barbecues, fireworks, and impromptu baseball games. Families, friends, and neighbors often get together to enjoy eating, talking, and lighting colorful fireworks. But where did it all start?

History of Independence Day Celebrations:

The holiday was officially created in 1870, 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, when the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain. On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” On July 4th, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence which had been written largely by Thomas Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on, the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.

John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Coincidentally, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing Revolutionary War.

The year 1801 marked the first public Fourth of July reception at the White House. The tradition of patriotic celebrations became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. On July 4, 1848, President James K. Polk helped to lay the cornerstone of the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.

By the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1926, Americans’ Independence Day traditions had largely been set and continue to this day. Military bases offer an afternoon “Salute to the Union,” ceremonially firing off a cannon or gun for each state of the Union, a tradition officially begun by the War Department in 1810. New states to the Union were/are added as stars on the American flag on the Fourth of July following their admittance. On a smaller scale, Americans today continue to join their ancestors by celebrating the day with parades, patriotic songs, speeches, American flags, and, of course, fireworks.

Whatever you plan to do for your 4th of July celebrations, remember to keep your pets safe as fireworks are frightening to many of them and can cause them to escape trying to get away from the sounds. Enjoy your families and friends, host a barbeque, head off to a parade or fireworks demonstration, perhaps sing a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States. But above all else stay safe and maybe enjoy your favorite Heart of the Desert pistachios and/or wine.

Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.