Why Do We Celebrate Our Independence Day With Fireworks?

July 03, 2013

​Fireworks are a ubiquitous part of America's Independence Day celebrations. No 4th of July celebration feels complete without some sort of fireworks, even if it's just a little sparkler. But why do we use them as part of the celebration? Is it to recreate the battles that won our country's freedom?

Surprisingly enough, fireworks were always part of the plan for our Independence Day festivities. John Adams wrote this letter to his wife, describing the festivities:

”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 commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Turns out John Adams was off by a couple of days, but his description nails pretty much everything other than barbecues. Fireworks were a part of the first 4th of July celebration in 1777, and have been ever since. Why? Because they're the grandest way to cap a celebration, visible and heard for miles around.

Unfortunately, some fireworks celebrations are canceled this year, after the recent wildfires in various parts of the country. If you do live in an area that allows fireworks, we encourage you to celebrate safely, both for you and your surroundings. Never treat a firework like a toy, and make sure fireworks are completely out before disposing them (or leaving the area you were using them in).

However you decide to celebrate, we hope your Independence Day is a great one!