Why Do We Have Fireworks on July 4th?



Happy July Fourth

Why do we celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks? Because America, of course.

At least, that’s probably the answer you’re going to get when you start asking this question at the barbecue this year. But, what is the real reason why we have fireworks? Why are Americans always, you know, blowing things up as a way to celebrate?

Because rockets’ red glare & bombs bursting in air! 


A lot of people – a lot of people – think we celebrate Independence Day with rockets because, duh, it tells us to in the National Anthem. After all, it gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, man!

It’s a nice thought, and the tie-in certainly doesn’t hurt anything (especially when there’s some sweet audio synced up to the pyrotechnics), but the former did not give rise to the latter.

Because Americans are warriors, HOOAH!

Eh … we’re gettin’ warmer. The history of fireworks is closely tied to that of munitions and war, although the very first fireworks were not an offshoot (ahem) of artillery. They were invented in China somewhere around the 7th century more or less for the fun of it, which is a comforting thought.

It wasn’t until a few hundred years later that the Chinese decided fireworks – and the gunpowder composite used to craft them – would make for exceptional weaponry.

Because John Adams was a boss!


Numerous historical accounts refer to a letter written by John Adams to his wife, Abigail, on July 3rd, 1776 – the day before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence – in which he details his opinion that fireworks should be used to mark the occasion.

If you’ll recall, John Adams was no lightweight. At the time, he was a political agitator and power-behind-the-throne type who wrote essays and made speeches in defiance of Great Britain that eventually got him elected to the Massachusetts General Court in 1770.

In turn, this led him to participate in the Continental Congresses and, shortly thereafter, helped write the Declaration of Independence with the likes of Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson – so when the man mentioned to his wife it’d be nice if there were fireworks on the Fourth of July it’s no surprise the skies over the newly formed U.S. of A spontaneously erupted in red, white and blue.

So, when you’re watching those fireworks …

Tip your tri-corner hat to John Adams for knowing how to party and have a great Fourth of July!

Ever watch fireworks from a hammock? Studies show it''s the American way.

Real fireworks are fleeting, but these are forever. Sweet.

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