The 4th of July, American Independence Day, celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, which declared US Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. But technically speaking, July 4th doesn't qualify to be the US Independence day.
Historically, the legal liberation of 13 original colonies took place on July 2, 1776, in a closed session of Congress. However, the Second Continental Congress took two more days to modify the famous of American documents, delaying the final approval of Declaration of Independence by two more days.
Although the Declaration of Independence managed to get the Congressional approval on July 4, 1776, it was not made public until July 8. Thus the first Independence Day was celebrated on July 8, 1776.
The Declaration of Independence was read on July 8th, 1776 by Col. John Nixon. He, less than a year later, would be made a brigadier general of the Continental Army.
The day saw summoning of citizens to Independence Hall for the very first public reading of the US Independence Declaration, by ringing the bells of Philadelphia, including the Liberty Bell. This breaks yet another American myth regarding the ringing of Liberty Bell.
Contrary to the popular misconception, Liberty Bell did not ring on July 4th, 1776 to mark the US Independence day. Americans had to wait four more days, till July 8th, to listen to the Liberty Bell as well as the public reading of Declaration of Independence.
The popular idea of 56 signers being in the same room at the same time on US day of independence is not supported by history. The signers of the Declaration of Independence did not sign the document on July 4, 1776, deeming the belief an absolute urban myth.
The official signing event took place on August 2nd, 1776, when 50 men signed the document. It took several months before all 56 finally signed. Thomas McKean, the last signer, signed in January 1777, seven months after the document was approved by Congress.
The names of the signers were kept confidential for more than six months after signing, to protect their identities, since the Revolutionary War hadn't ended and if the signers were discovered, the rebellious act of signing could have resulted in their deaths.
Fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States, marks the US Independence day.