Alternative Fourth of July ActivitiesOn July 1, 2020 by Elyse
In many parts of the United States, Fourth of July celebrations will be (or at least, should be) a little different this year: no large crowds gathered together to ooh and ahh over fireworks, no hamburgers and hotdogs grilled at neighborhood barbecues and definitely no regiments marching around in powdered wigs.
Fortunately, history is full of socially distanced suggestions for celebrating the nation’s birthday. This Independence Day, exercise your right to pursue happiness with a few lesser-known—but no less time-honored—festivities.
Party with a psychic pig.
Among the sights exhibited on Independence day in New York, we are told by the Commercial Advertiser, was “a learned Pig, who can inform maids when they will become wives, and hen-picked husband when they will become widowers. He is said to be as clever at figures as the Secretary of the Treasury, and can actually tell when that great financier will be able to pay off the National debt.”– The Portland Gazette, July 9, 1822
I know who politicians and economists will be spending the holiday with.
Disparage other holidays.
. . . the anniversary of Independence was celebrated here with every demonstration of Joy. Heart-felt satisfaction was depicted on every countenance, and the alacrity of all to honour [Editor’s note: I think he means “honor.”] the day that raised them to the rank of freemen, presented a spectacle truly august; compared with which the tinsel frippery of a venal court, and the hired adulation of a king’s birth day (a month ago) dwindle below pigmy stature into nothing—and leave the disgusted mind to contemplate something.– The National Gazette, July 13, 1793
Translation: Our holiday is better than your holiday. Our spelling, however, is not.
There will be nothin’ to waken you up at 4 o’clock on the morning of the Fourth of July if the order of Mayor Harrison has the wanted effect.
Nothin’ doin’ but red fire and sparklers, says the regulation. And cops will be out to give you a ride in the wagon if you touch a match to a cannon cracker or a skyrocket.
“Safe and Sane” is the argument. It’s a boycott on the ambulance man and the undertaker. And we will all be able to stand up and take notice on the “morning after the day before.”– The Day Book, June 29, 1914
Write subtle political satire.
What better day to exercise our First Amendment rights?
Celebrate another day.
The Fourth of July having turned out to be a rainy day at Carlisle, the inhabitants put off the celebration of the glorious event, Independence, to the 5th, which perfectly answered their expectations. From this example it would seem proper in future to advertise, “Independence to be celebrated on the fourth of July, or, if bad weather, the next fair day after.”– The National Gazette, July 21, 1792
Independence Day will henceforth be known as the Fourth-Or-Whenever-The-Weather-Cooperates of July.
Exercise some (but not all) of your rights.
Let them eat cake.
Wrong revolution, but solid advice nonetheless. Flag cake was a fixture of my childhood Fourth of July celebrations, and at this point, that feels long enough ago to be classified as “history.” The only thing more fun than carefully arranging the blueberries and strawberries was picking them off after the cake was cut.
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Disclaimer: The modern era is far from the first to grapple with rampant “fake news.” As I am neither a historian nor journalist, I make no claims about the accuracy or lack thereof of the above sources. I assert only that they make for a good story.
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