The History of Why We Use Fireworks on the 4th of July
Why do we Use Fireworks on the 4th of July?

Why do we Use Fireworks on the 4th of July?

People celebrate the 4th of July in a variety of ways. Some attend baseball games, while others watch patriotic films with friends and family. However, there’s something that almost every 4th of July celebration includes: fireworks. Whether shooting a few fireworks in your driveway or attending a massive fireworks display, it just doesn’t feel like the 4th of July without these bright lights.

But why do we use fireworks on the 4th of July? When did the tradition start? Below, we’ll answer these questions and more.

When were fireworks invented?

It’s believed that fireworks originated in ancient Liuyang, China. People made early “fireworks” by throwing stalks of bamboo into open flames. The bamboo would eventually explode due to air pockets in the plant. After the invention of gunpowder, the Chinese would fill bamboo stalks with the material before lighting them, thus creating the first actual fireworks.

The first 4th of July celebration

The idea of celebrating the 4th of July first came from John Adams. In a letter to his wife Abigail, Adams said, “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward, forever more.”

A year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, America held its first July 4th celebration. During the celebration, ships fired their cannons 13 times to honor the first 13 colonies of the United States. The Pennsylvania Evening Post would later write about the celebration, saying, “The evening was closed with the ringing of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets, on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.”

Notably, fireworks were already a popular means of celebration in England before our founding fathers made it to the new world. Settlers would use this love of fireworks to celebrate their new independence from England.

The 1800s

Fireworks became more readily available following the War of 1812, which was good as people started to realize the public safety issues of firing cannons and guns as a means of celebration. Independence Day became an official holiday in 1870, and to celebrate, many Americans shot off fireworks. This tradition has continued to this day. And despite numerous fireworks-related accidents over the years, most Americans still enjoy celebrating the 4th of July in a similar, albeit safer, manner.

Fireworks today

Our founding fathers wouldn’t believe the huge variety of fireworks available today. We have everything from sparklers you can light in your driveway to massive rockets that entire cities can see. Whether you plan on shooting off your own fireworks or attending an official fireworks display, be sure to practice proper safety. Always keep an eye on children holding sparklers and put out any sparks left in your driveway or yard.

Finding a local fireworks display

Most towns and cities host massive celebrations for the 4th of July. Check online or in local newspapers to see what’s planned for your area. Larger cities often host several fireworks displays on and around July 4th.  That said, even if you can’t find a local fireworks display, hosting one on your own property can be just as fun.

Stop by a local fireworks stand and pick up all your favorites. Popular fireworks include sparklers, cakes, Roman candles and snakes. It’s easy to find good deals on a lot of fireworks. Just be sure you have a good place to light them—you don’t want to light them near anything that could catch on fire.

Wear the perfect outfit to your local fireworks display

Show off your patriotic spirit at a local fireworks display by wearing one of The Flag Shirt’s 4th of July T-shirts. Our July 4th shirts come in a variety of designs and are all made right here in the United States. We also offer many accessories you could use to complete any Independence Day outfit. Check out our selection and enjoy free shipping on orders of $50 or more!

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