The Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and the creation of a new nation-The United States of America.
In honor of our country's 241st birthday, here are some amazing facts you might not have known about how Americans celebrate this day:
The parades are almost as old as the U.S.
With pomp and pizazz, many communities commemorate Independence Day with a parade. The pageantry, with floats and neighborhoods all adorn in red, white and blue, began in Bristol, Rhode Island on July 4, 1785.
July 4th wasn't always a federal holiday
In fact, it took Congress 165 years to make Independence Day a paid holiday.
Old Glory through the years
Elizabeth Griscom "Betsy" Ross is credited with designing and sewing the first American flag for George Washington. The Smithsonian Institution notes this story first entered the American consciousness around the 1876 Centennial.
Since Ross' first flag, we have used 27 different official flags, including the latest, introduced and adopted in 1960. The only change to the flag over the years was the number of stars, changed only as new states were admitted to the union.
A recent survey revealed 65 percent of Americans own at least one U.S. flag, according to WalletHub.
Americans love their freedom to eat
The carnivores have a field day every July 4th as hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and barbecue find their way into celebrations across the country.
In addition to eating 150 million hot dogs during this holiday alone, Americans spend a ton of moolah on meat for their picnics and parties, including:
- 700 million pounds of chicken, valued at $389 million
- 190 million pounds of beef, valued at $388 million
- $27 million on Italian sausage
- $25 million on bratwurst
But the meat eaters aren't the only ones having fun. Americans also splurge on corn on the cob ($36 million), cherries ($116 million), deli salads ($114 million) and watermelon ($83 million) for this one celebration.
Wine and beer: America's liquid treasures
If you thought the figures in the last section were huge, consider how much people spend on alcoholic beverages for their July 4th parties: $1.6 billion and that doesn't count spirits!
We're having a blast on Independence Day (literally!)
In 2016, Americans bought more than $800 million in fireworks, including those all-time favorites, sparklers.
Things you should know before buying and using fireworks
Red, White, and Blue S'mores
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