It's the day that marked the founding of a new nation. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, formally announcing the colonies intent on separating from England. The first celebration was actually held on July 8, when the residents of Philadelphia read the declaration publicly for the first time and held a mock funeral for the King of England a symbolic act meant to signify the death of the monarchy and the birth of the U.S. Although America's birthday was marked on July 4 each year thereafter, the holiday wasn't made official until 1870. After numerous deaths and injuries linked to heavy drinking and fireworks, reformers in the early 20th century sought to promote a "safe and sane" Fourth of July. Throughout the 20th century, while still marked by parades, concerts and grandiose fireworks displays, the holiday became less political and more about Americans exerting their independence in backyards with family, hot dogs, apple pie, beer and bottle rockets.