Fireworks have been a source of fascination and a joy to many people for centuries now. This is unsurprising since fireworks are often lit during happy events and celebrations.
Did you know that:
- Pyrotechnics is the art of making and lighting fireworks. The term came from the Greek works “pyro”, which means “fire”, and “techne” which means “art.”
- China is the number one exporter and largest manufacturer of fireworks all over the world. In fact, 90% of fireworks come from China.
- Contrary to what is stated in some history books, fireworks came first before pyrotechnic weaponry, and it was all by accident. A Chinese alchemist unintentionally mixed potassium nitrate, sulfur, and charcoal together. The mixture resulted in a basic chemical gunpowder recipe. During the Chinese medieval warfare, fireworks were attached to rats that run to enemy camps. They also strapped fireworks to arrows to scare their enemies.
- Macy’s “Lights Up the Night” is the biggest fireworks display in the US. It happens every Fourth of July in New York over the Hudson River. The show uses 40,000+ shells to create a fireworks spectacle. On average, over 3 million people watch the show ever year.
- Sparklers can be deceiving. They look benign, but in reality, they can burn up to 2,000° F.
- Japanese firework festivals occur during summer.
- Hanabi Takai is a summer tradition in Japan that involves several firework festivals. The events take place almost every weekend, which culminates in 800+ firework displays in August. Interestingly, the Japanese rarely use fireworks during New Year celebrations.
- To come up with different colors, specific metal elements are needed. When the elements burn, the hot temperature triggers their electrons. They essentially “get excited”, so they release their energy in light form. To produce red fireworks, strontium and lithium are needed. Silver and white fireworks are results of titanium and magnesium. Orange fireworks come from calcium while yellow fireworks are produced from sodium. To create green fireworks, barium is required. Blue is notoriously known as the most difficult pyrotechnic color to create. Even after centuries, there’s still no solid chemistry to produce blue fireworks.
- Gunpowder is traditionally used to launch fireworks. However, for safety purposes, Disneyland make use of compressed air instead.
- A letter from John Adams to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776, started the tradition of using fireworks every Fourth of July. On his message, he told his wife that it would be nice to celebrate the independence of America from England with fireworks.
Here are stunning fireworks photos for you to enjoy!