Betty Owens here–Happy Summer! We’re in the midst of an early heat wave. I’m writing this post at 7:30 in the morning and it’s already 89 degrees. During the month of July, we’ll talk about holidays. This week, it’s summer holidays. Summer began officially on June 20th at 7:09 pm (in North America). This day is called Summer Solstice. Sol means sun, and -stice means to stand still. It is the longest day and shortest night of the year. I have listed some of the most common summer holidays below this article.
The greatest of the summer holidays, the Fourth of July is a day of picnics, backyard barbecues, band concerts, and fireworks displays. For many of us, it means a day off from work. But it hasn’t always been that way. Early celebrations included public readings of the Declaration of Independence, ringing of bells, bonfires, and processions. Some even held mock funerals for George III, celebrating the end of the monarchy’s control.
The first annual celebration of the Fourth of July was held in Philadelphia in 1776, but it did not become widely celebrated until the years following the War of 1812. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made the Fourth of July a federal holiday. In 1941, it became a paid federal holiday. Now it is one of the six major holidays celebrated by many businesses.
|Miami FL, Wikipedia Commons File
|Fourth of July celebrations figure large in several well-known movies. Yankee Doodle Dandy (James Cagney, 1942), and The Music Man (Robert Preston, 1962) are two of my favorites. The small-town celebration in The Music Man is classic Americana. Though stylized for film, those of you who grew up in small towns may have experienced something similar. I remember baseball games, marching bands, and church picnics and of course, the exciting fireworks displays.
Interesting side note: John Adams believed the actual date to celebrate the new nation’s independence was July 2nd when the declaration was signed, instead of July 4th, when it was accepted. It was reported that Adams turned down invitations to speak or make appearances at Fourth of July functions. Oddly enough, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4th, 1826, fifty years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
For more information on the Fourth of July, check out these webpages:
This week’s writing prompt:
Julianne would always remember this Fourth of July as the day she . . .
June (after the first day of summer)
St Baptiste Day June 24
Paul Bunyan Day June 28
Canada Day 2 (C)
Independence Day 4
Parents Day 22
Friendship Day 5
Assumption Day 15
National Aviation Day 19
Women’s Equality Day 26
Labor Day 3
Grandparents Day 9
Patriot Day 11
Stepfamily Day 16
Constitution Day (&Week) 17
or Citizenship Day
International Day of Peace 21
We have a winner! Last month’s prompt contest was a difficult one to judge. After much deliberation . . . (drumroll please) . . . Congratulations, Michelle Sutton!! You have won the $10 Amazon gift card. Please click on the “Contact” tab near the top of this page to email us so we can send you your card. And thanks so much for entering! Thanks also, Ginger, Samantha & Meghan–loved your stories. Keep trying!