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EAST BAY — Independence Day celebrations are already underway in some East Bay cities. Regional events include fireworks, festivals and other Fourth of July fun.


Today, Americans celebrate the birth of a new nation with fireworks, parades, concerts, family reunions and barbecues. But these celebrations date back centuries before Independence Day was established as a federal holiday in 1941.

In the crucial summer of 1776, the pre-revolutionary celebrations in honour of King George III’s birthday were replaced by mock funerals in order to create a symbolic break with the Crown.

It was an exciting time in Philadelphia: the Continental Congress voted to renounce the crown and two days later, on July 4, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the original 13 colonies – New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

The first annual commemoration of the nation’s independence took place in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, while the Revolutionary War was still in progress. Fireworks have been a part of the Fourth of July celebration since the first celebration in Philadelphia.