September 2, 2014

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Fourth of July holiday celebrated since 1777 PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, July 03, 2014 10:39 AM

The Fourth of July has been a federal holiday since 1941. Though that may seem like a long time for the country to wait to celebrate the independence it declared in 1776, the tradition of the Fourth of July, often referred to as Independence Day, dates back to the dawn of the American Revolution and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Since then, July 4th has been recognized as the dawn of American independence, and celebrations that included fireworks and parades can be traced back to the 18th century.

On July 4, 1777, the city of Philadelphia, which would become the first capital of the United States of America, held the first annual commemoration of American independence, and exactly one year later George Washington ordered that all of his soldiers be offered double rations of rum to commemorate the anniversary.

In 1781, Massachusetts was the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday, and the day was actually declared a federal holiday by the U.S. Congress in 1870.

However, that declaration did not grant a paid holiday to federal employees. That benefit came in 1941, which is why that year is now recognized as the first year when the Fourth of July officially became a federal holiday.