Across the country, Americans will don red, white and blue on July 4 to celebrate the nation's independence with barbecues, parades and fireworks.
The holiday commemorates the Founding Fathers' declaration of independence in 1776. The day has had a fascinating history ever since, rife with quirky coincidences and inventive celebrations.
Want to impress your friends and family at this year's Fourth of July gathering? Check out these facts you might not have known about the holiday.
1. Congress didn't actually vote for independence on July 4.
Twelve of thirteen states approved a resolution for independence on July 2, not July 4, when the declaration was actually adopted. New York didn't vote until July 9. Many of the signers didn't attach their names to the document until August 2.
John Adams famously insisted the annual celebration of independence be held July 2, not July 4, and refused to attend any events on the latter day.
2. The Fourth of July didn't become an official holiday until over a century after America declared its independence.
In 1776, John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife, Abigail, that American independence should be celebrated with “pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”
Though early celebrations began the following year, the Fourth of July wasn't designated a federal holiday until 1870. In 1941, it became a paid holiday for federal employees.
3. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington gave his soldiers a special treat for the holiday.
On July 4, 1778, George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for his soldiers. He also ordered a cannon salute to celebrate the occasion.
Drinking was a large part of historical Fourth of July celebrations — it was traditional to drink 13 toasts, one for each state in the union.
4. In a bizarre coincidence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826 — the nation's 50th birthday.
The two founding fathers and political adversaries died within five hours of each other.
As Adams lay on his deathbed, unaware that Jefferson had died earlier that day in Monticello, he reportedly spoke his last words: "Jefferson still survives".
James Monroe was the third president to die on July 4: he passed away in 1831.
5. Calvin Coolidge is the only president to be born on July 4.
Coolidge, the 30th U.S. president, was born on Independence Day in 1872.
Other July 4 birthdays include first daughter Malia Obama, gangster Meyer Lansky, author Nathaniel Hawthorne, and reality TV star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino.
6. The United States isn't the only country to celebrate independence on July 4.
The Philippines gained its independence from U.S. colonial control on July 4, 1946, and the day became a national holiday.
In 1962, however, the day was changed to June 12 in light of rising Filipino nationalism and resentment toward prior American colonialism. July 4 remains on the books as "Philippine Republic Day," but isn't widely observed.
7. Celebrating with fireworks is as old as the holiday itself.
At the first Fourth of July celebrations, which took place in Philadelphia in 1777, revelers fired a cannon 13 times, once for each colony. That night, 13 fireworks were fired off from the city's commons.
The tradition has only blossomed since then. In 1934, an explorer in Antarctica set off fireworks to celebrate the holiday in relatively warm weather for the continent: 33 degrees below zero.
8. And today, fireworks are a massive industry.
According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, Americans spent over $1 billion on fireworks in 2017. That number has roughly tripled over the last 20 years.
8. July 4 is the biggest hot dog day of the year.
Americans consume roughly 150 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July — enough to stretch from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles five times.
Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, which is over a century old, takes place July 4 every year. The record, currently held by Joey Chestnut, is 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes.