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What to know about Fourth of July holiday origins and traditions

Cheering fans in front of a wall of entertainment images.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Fourth of July is Americana at its core: parades and cookouts and cold beer and, of course, fireworks. Those pyrotechnics also make it an especially dangerous holiday, typically resulting in more than 10,000 trips to the emergency room. Yet fireworks remain at the center of Independence Day, a holiday 247 years in the making. The holiday celebrates the Second Continental Congress’ unanimous adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, a document announcing the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. One year later, according to the Library of Congress, a spontaneous celebration in Philadelphia marked the anniversary of American independence. But across the burgeoning nation, observations of the holiday didn’t become commonplace until after the War of 1812.