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Written by guest blogger Heidi Douglas

How were your celebrations yesterday? For anyone who isn’t American, this will seem like a very odd question, but for the United States of America, the Fourth of July is a highly celebrated day for most Americans – it is Independence Day.

This year, it will be 241 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 officially signalling the end of being part of the British Empire and becoming the United States of America. On that day in 1776, 13 gun shots were fired in celebration of the 13 states that made up the United States of America at that time, and there was an official dinner with speeches, toasts, music and fireworks, with the ships being decorated in red white and blue.

Nowadays the Fourth of July is a much anticipated holiday for everyone, that usually consists of family and friends having parties or barbecues together, being outside in the backyard, at a lake or the beach and hopefully enjoying some warm summer weather. There is generally an abundance of delicious food, perhaps a cool beer or two for those old enough, lots of laughter and the night is usually finished with fireworks, either bought themselves or one of the many professional displays put on in most towns across America. These displays are probably some of the most impressive fireworks seen throughout the year! The biggest display is often in New York over the East River, but nothing has beaten the 2009 display which used 22 tonnes of pyrotechnics!

The traditional colours of red, white and blue are used to decorate party venues, and even the food and many people wear the colours of the flag as part of their outfit. You’ll see Sara and Ally demonstrating this in the photo above!

It is a day to celebrate and come together, so to all of our American friends – Happy (slightly belated) Fourth of July!