Fireworks on the 4th of July, children’s lemonade stands, and family and friends gathering for BBQ’s are iconic pastimes that define summertime in America. But, have you ever wondered where these traditions originated? TRUE has done the digging for you! Share these surprising fun facts at your next picnic or bonfire!
- Fireworks are thought to have originated in China and are traditionally used to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
- The first official American firework show occurred July 4th, 1777, which was the 1st anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence (National Geographic.com).
- The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimates that more than 14,000 fireworks displays light up U.S. skies each July 4th.
- The largest firework display consisted of 479,651 fireworks and was produced by the Dubai Government on December 31st 2013.
- Lemonade stands are quintessentially American, so it is only fitting that the tradition of selling lemonade from a small stand is thought to have originated in the U.S.’s economic center, the big apple. The soft drink phenomenon was mentioned in an 1880 New York Times article, which explained that stands were appearing throughout the city during the hot summer days allowing one to buy a refreshing glass of lemonade for 5 cents, a rate much lower than the local bars (ehow.com).
- The Guinness world record for largest lemon is held by Aharon Shemoel who grew an astonishing 11 lb 9.7 oz lemon on his farm in Kefar Zeitim, Israel.
- Grilling food on the weekends is a beloved summertime ritual for many, but it takes more than a grill to make a barbecue. Technically, a proper American BBQ requires a great deal of time and patience, as the meat cooks over indirect heat for several hours up to more than a day! The origin of the term barbeque may be unknown, but the notion of barbeque is shared throughout the world and varies greatly from region to region.
- The largest barbecue in the world is held by Discovery Channel Big! and measured 15 ft 3.75 in (4.66 m) high, 20 ft 2.25 in (6.14 m) wide and 8 ft (2.43 m) deep.
- Here is some spooky trivia to share at your next summer fire: The name bonfire is thought to originate from “bonefire” and the connotation is pretty clear. Historically, large fires were constructed to burn bones.
- According to the Guinness’s world of records, the largest bonfire was built by ŠKD mladi Boštanj on April 30th 2007. The fire was 60,589ft tall and lit in honor of Slovenia’s Labour Day.
- Camping as a form of recreation came along in the 1800s. It was seen as a good experience for children, allowing them to explore and adventure within an organized nature expedition (americanhistoryusa.com).
- The popularity of incorporating and experience nature into one’s life lead to the organization of formal camps, such as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
- Picnics where originally outdoor feasts enjoyed by the wealthy during the Renaissance era (foodtimeline.org).
- The traditional American picnic typically consists of finger foods and sandwiches that are typically shared on a blanket.
- The longest recorded picnic blanket measured in at a shocking 18,944.41 ft²!
- The record for largest picnic is held by Portugal and consisted of 22,232 people.