Celebrate Independence Day with 5 traditional celebrations

Isabella Maish, Reporter

Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is a public holiday that celebrates the birth of American independence from Britain with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. Due to its historic and patriotic significance, it is celebrated with generational traditions throughout the country.


Boat Parades

The Oliver Hazard Perry participates in the Tall Ships event in Portland, Oregon in 2015. Ship parades, especially ones with historic sailing ships, are common in US cities with ports. (Paul VanDerWerf/CC BY 2.0) (Paul VanDerWerf)

In a number of cities throughout the United States, crowds of seaside communities gather shoreside or lakeside for a great American tradition: a boat parade. Rather than floats, participants decorate their motor boats or yachts with red, white, and blue lights and cruise through the water in a procession while music plays.


Flag apparel

An older gentleman participates in the VisionWalk in Arizona in 2012. While wearing the American flag is a violation of the Flag Code, it is not enforceable by law. (cobalt123/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

During the Fourth of July, it is common for Americans to express patriotism on their clothes- some go to the extent of wigs and painting their faces.

BBQ, Picnic, or Backyard Party


A trio of veggie kebabs are placed on a plate. While many Americans still enjoy a hamburger or hot dog on July 4, some embrace the holiday with healthier fare. (Meng He/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

While many holidays are celebrated inside or in small gatherings of close relatives and friends, the Fourth of July is a holiday where Americans often host big bashes in their massive backyards.


Several types of sausage and a couple hamburgers as well as some tomato slices are being grilled. Cooking on a grill originated with the Arawak people of the Caribbean which they called barbacoa, which became barbecue. (Nacho/Public Domain)

Celebrating the 4th with a barbecue is an old Southern tradition, one that dates back to the beginning of the country. Just after the Revolution, Americans marked Independence Day with public dinners. Today, almost every American grills outside to feed the party.


Tailgating or tailgate parties are a common occurence in America before concerts or sporting events. Often food and drink is served and various games are played. (Ben Vardi/Public Domain)

Whether it’s a football game or an event to celebrate, Americans love tailgating, setting up a pseudo campsite outside trucks and creating a party on the asphalt.