You know summer is here when, even before the actual Fourth of July holiday officially hits, you hear those oh-so-familiar pop, pop, pops setting off into the sky.
Or perhaps you see sparks soaring through the air, briefly decorating the nighttime sky with whirling specks of color.
Along with barbecues, family outings, and fun picnics, setting off fireworks is probably the number-one event people look forward to for the Fourth of July.
But this firework trend started way before you were even a sparkle in your daddy's eye, my friend.
Of course, there's an important history that comes with the origin of fireworks in America.
The Fourth of July, as you should know, is when America got its freedom.
And yes, even back then, people were getting loose -- John Adams made sure of it.
Before the founding father and second president of the United States signed the sacred Declaration of Independence, Adams knew he wanted to celebrate America's glory with a gorgeous display of fireworks.
On July 3, 1776, in a letter to his wife, Abigail, he detailed exactly how he wanted to celebrate America's moment: “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
Yes, the president called fireworks “illuminations.” Am I the only one LOLing at that, guys?
His vision came to light (pun intended) the following year, on July 4, 1777.
On that day, the celebration of America's independence both began and ended with 13 fireworks.
Except, fireworks actually weren't the only thing involved.
The Pennsylvania Evening Post reported on the sights of that night:
The evening was closed with the ring of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks (which began and concluded with thirteen rockets) on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.”
Wow. Anyone else think America was extra AF that year? Like, I thought this country was extra now, but damn.
Also, I'm not quite sure what exactly is meant by “rockets” there, but I believe it's safe to assume that an actual spacecraft was not used for this (again, so extra).
After this first commemorative firework display took place, the trend simply took off.
By 1783, fireworks became available for purchase to the public.
The following year, rockets became available for purchase, as well.
Fast-forward 241 years later, and now, in 2017, Americans set off fireworks because, well, the tradition must live on, right?
So, in honor of this country, make sure you enjoy yourself this year as you take in the exhilarating sights of fireworks in the sky, whether you're gazing up from a rooftop party, or a barbecue in your family's backyard.
John Adams knew he only wanted one thing out of this holiday: America, above all, had to be lit -- literally.