The Fourth of July is so intrinsically associated with American culture that it's easy to take its traditions - and its history - for granted. But the beloved national holiday has some surprising secrets behind it, from the truth of the historical apocrypha that surrounds it to the trivial details that puts its popularity into context.
There are plenty of basics about Independence Day that are widely understood - that it's the official celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, for starters - as well ceremonial rituals that have been widely agreed upon. The fireworks, the hot dogs, the reds, whites, and blues. But what if those reds, whites, and blues were once green? What if we should be celebrating on July 2 instead? What if it wasn't even an officially sanctioned holiday until after the Civil War, nearly a century after the Revolutionary War? And most important of all, what might Nicolas Cage have to do with all of this? Look no further than this list of surprising truths - and untruths - about America's foundational summertime holiday.