Fireworks are a class of low explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. The most common use of a firework is as part of a fireworks display (also called a fireworks show or pyrotechnics), a display of the effects produced by firework devices. Fireworks competitions are also regularly held at a number of places.
Fireworks take many forms to produce the four primary effects: noise, light, smoke, and floating materials (confetti for example). They may be designed to burn with colored flames and sparks including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and silver. Displays are common throughout the world and are the focal point of many cultural and religious celebrations.
Fireworks are generally classified as to where they perform, either as a ground or aerial firework. In the latter case they may provide their own propulsion (skyrocket) or be shot into the air by a mortar (aerial shell).
The most common feature of fireworks is a paper or pasteboard tube or casing filled with the combustible material, often pyrotechnic stars. A number of these tubes or cases are often combined so as to make when kindled, a great variety of sparkling shapes, often variously colored. A skyrocket is a common form of firework, although the first skyrockets were used in warfare. The aerial shell, however, is the backbone of today's commercial aerial display, and a smaller version for consumer use is known as the festival ball in the United States. Such rocket technology has also been used for the delivery of mail by rocket and is used as propulsion for most model rockets.
Fireworks were originally invented in medieval China around the early 9th century. One of the cultural practices for fireworks was to scare away evil spirits. Cultural events and festivities such as the Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival were and still are times when fireworks are guaranteed sights. China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world. Colored fireworks were invented in Europe in the 1830s. Modern skyrocket fireworks were invented in the early 20th century.
The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to about the early 9th-century medieval Chinese Tang Dynasty. The fireworks were used to accompany many festivities. The art and science of firework making has developed into an independent profession. In China, pyrotechnicians were respected for their knowledge of complex techniques in mounting firework displays. Chinese people originally believed that the fireworks could expel evil spirits and bring about luck and happiness.
During the Song Dynasty (960–1279), many of the common people could purchase various kinds of fireworks from market vendors, and grand displays of fireworks were also known to be held. In 1110, a large fireworks display in a martial demonstration was held to entertain Emperor Huizong of Song (r. 1100–1125) and his court. A record from 1264 states that a rocket-propelled firework went off near the Empress Dowager Gong Sheng and startled her during a feast held in her honor by her son Emperor Lizong of Song (r. 1224–1264). Rocket propulsion was common in warfare, as evidenced by the Huolongjing compiled by Liu Bowen (1311–1375) and Jiao Yu (fl. c. 1350–1412). In 1240 the Arabs acquired knowledge of gunpowder and its uses from China. A Syrian named Hasan al-Rammah wrote of rockets, fireworks, and other incendiaries, using terms that suggested he derived his knowledge from Chinese sources, such as his references to fireworks as "Chinese flowers".
In regards to colored fireworks, this was derived and developed from earlier (possibly Han or soon thereafter) Chinese application of chemical substances to create colored smoke and fire. Such application appears in the Huolongjing (14th century) and Wubeizhi (preface of 1621, printed 1628), which describes recipes, several of which used low-nitrate gunpowder, to create military signal smokes with various colors. In the Wubei Huolongjing (武備火龍經; Ming, completed after 1628), two formulas appears for firework-like signals, the sanzhangju (三丈菊) and baizhanglian (百丈蓮), that produces silver sparkles in the smoke. In the Huoxilüe (火戲略; 1753) by Zhao Xuemin (趙學敏), there are several recipes with low-nitrate gunpowder and other chemical substances to tint flames and smoke. The Chinese pyrotechnics have been written about by foreign authors such as Antoine Caillot (1818) who wrote "It is certain that the variety of colours which the Chinese have the secret of giving to flame is the greatest mystery of their fireworks." or Sir John Barrow (ca. 1797) who wrote "The diversity of colours indeed with which the Chinese have the secret of cloathing fire seems to be the chief merit of their pyrotechny."
Fireworks were produced in Europe by the 14th century, becoming popular by the 17th century. Lev Izmailov, ambassador of Peter the Great, once reported from China: "They make such fireworks that no one in Europe has ever seen." In 1758, the Jesuit missionary Pierre Nicolas le Chéron d'Incarville, living in Beijing, wrote about the methods and composition on how to make many types of Chinese fireworks to the Paris Academy of Sciences, which revealed and published the account five years later. Amédée-François Frézier published his revised work Traité des feux d'artice pour le spectacle (Treatise on Fireworks) in 1747 (originally 1706), covering the recreational and ceremonial uses of fireworks, rather than their military uses. Music for the Royal Fireworks was composed by George Frideric Handel in 1749 to celebrate the Peace treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which had been declared the previous year.
Improper use of fireworks may be dangerous, both to the person operating them (risks of burns and wounds) and to bystanders; in addition, they may start fires after landing on flammable material. For this reason, the use of fireworks is generally legally restricted. Display fireworks are restricted by law for use by professionals; consumer items, available to the public, are smaller versions containing limited amounts of explosive material to reduce potential danger.
Fireworks are also a problem for animals, both domestic and wild, which can be frightened by their noise, leading to them running away, often into danger, or hurting themselves on fences or in other ways in an attempt to escape.
Pyrotechnical competitions involving fireworks are held in many countries. The most prestigious fireworks competition is the Montreal Fireworks Festival, an annual competition held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Another magnificent competition is Le Festival d'Art Pyrotechnique held in the summer annually at the Bay of Cannes in Côte d'Azur, France. The World Pyro Olympics is an annual competition amongst the top fireworks companies in the world. It is held in Manila, Philippines. The event is one of the largest and most intense international fireworks competitions.
Enthusiasts in the United States have formed clubs which unite hobbyists and professionals. The groups provide safety instruction and organize meetings and private "shoots" at remote premises where members shoot commercial fireworks as well as fire pieces of their own manufacture. Clubs secure permission to fire items otherwise banned by state or local ordinances. Competition among members and between clubs, demonstrating everything from single shells to elaborate displays choreographed to music, are held. One of the oldest clubs is Crackerjacks, Inc., organized in 1976 in the Eastern Seaboard region of the U.S.
The Pyrotechnics Guild International, Inc. or PGI, founded in 1969, is an independent worldwide nonprofit organization of amateur and professional fireworks enthusiasts. It is notable for its large number of members, around 3,500 in total. The PGI exists solely to further the safe usage and enjoyment of both professional grade and consumer grade fireworks while both advancing the art and craft of pyrotechnics and preserving its historical aspects. Each August the PGI conducts its annual week-long convention, where some the world's biggest and best fireworks displays occur. Vendors, competitors, and club members come from around the US and from various parts of the globe to enjoy the show and to help out at this all-volunteer event. Aside from the nightly firework shows, the competition is a highlight of the convention. This is a completely unique event where individual classes of hand-built fireworks are competitively judged, ranging from simple fireworks rockets to extremely large and complex aerial shells. Some of the biggest, best, most intricate fireworks displays in the United States take place during the convention week.
Amateur and professional members can come to the convention to purchase fireworks, paper goods, novelty items, non-explosive chemical components and much more at the PGI trade show. Before the nightly fireworks displays and competitions, club members have a chance to enjoy open shooting of any and all legal consumer or professional grade fireworks, as well as testing and display of hand-built fireworks. The week ends with the Grand Public Display on Friday night, which gives the chosen display company a chance to strut their stuff in front of some of the world's biggest fireworks aficionados. The stakes are high and much planning is put into the show. In 1994 a shell of 36 inches (910 mm) in diameter was fired during the convention, more than twice as large as the largest shell usually seen in the US, and shells as large as 24 inches (610 mm) are frequently fired.
In the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland there are many fireworks displays, during the Halloween season. The largest are in the cities of Belfast, Derry, and Dublin. The 2010 Derry Halloween fireworks attracted an audience of over 20,000 people. The sale of fireworks is strongly restricted in the Republic of Ireland, though many illegal fireworks are sold throughout October or smuggled from Northern Ireland. In the Republic the maximum punishment for possessing fireworks without a licence, or lighting fireworks in a public place, is a €10,000 fine and a five-year prison sentence.
Two firework displays on All Hallows' Eve in the United States are the annual "Happy Hallowishes" show at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party" event, which began in 2005, and the "Halloween Screams" at Disneyland Park, which began in 2009.
In France, fireworks are traditionally displayed on the eve of Bastille day (July 14) to commemorate the French revolution and the storming of the Bastille on that same day in 1789. Every city in France lights up the sky for the occasion with a special mention to Paris that offers a spectacle around the Eiffel Tower.
In Hungary fireworks are used on 20 August, which is a national celebration day 
Indians throughout the world celebrate with fireworks as part of their popular "festival of lights" (Diwali) in Oct-Nov every year.
During the summer in Japan, fireworks festivals (花火大会 hanabi taikai) are held nearly every day someplace in the country, in total numbering more than 200 during August. The festivals consist of large fireworks shows, the largest of which use between 100,000 and 120,000 rounds (Tondabayashi, Osaka), and can attract more than 800,000 spectators. Street vendors set up stalls to sell various drinks and staple Japanese food (such as Yakisoba, Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, Kakigōri (shaved ice), and traditionally held festival games, such as Kingyo-sukui, or Goldfish scooping.
Even today, men and women attend these events wearing the traditional Yukata, summer Kimono, or Jinbei (men only), collecting in large social circles of family or friends to sit picnic-like, eating and drinking, while watching the show.
The first fireworks festival in Japan was held in 1733.
Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival is one of the many being celebrated annually throughout Japan in summer.
Fireworks have been used in Malta for hundreds of years. When the islands were ruled by the Order of St John, fireworks were used on special occasions such as the election of a new Grand Master, the appointment of a new Pope or the birth of a prince.
Nowadays, fireworks are used in village feasts throughout the summer. The Malta International Fireworks Festival is also held annually.
Pyrotechnics experts from around the world have competed in Monte Carlo, Monaco since 1966. The festival runs from July to August every year, and the winner returns in November 18 for the fireworks display on the night before the National Day of Monaco. The event is held in Port Hercule, beginning at around 9:30pm every night, depending on the sunset.
The Singapore Fireworks Celebrations (previously the Singapore Fireworks Festival) is an annual event held in Singapore as part of its National Day celebrations. The festival features local and foreign teams which launch displays on different nights. While currently non-competitive in nature, the organizer has plans to introduce a competitive element in the future.
The annual festival has grown in magnitude, from 4,000 rounds used in 2004, to 6,000 in 2005, to over 9,100 in 2006.
One of the biggest occasions for fireworks in the UK is Guy Fawkes Night held each year on 5 November, to celebrate the foiling of the Catholic Gunpowder Plot on 5 November 1605, an attempt to kill King James I. The Guardian newspaper said in 2008 that Britain's biggest Guy Fawkes night events were:
The main firework celebrations in the UK are by the public who buy from many suppliers, one of the best being Diamond and Bad Boy Fireworks Homepage
America's earliest settlers brought their enthusiasm for fireworks to the United States. Fireworks and black ash were used to celebrate important events long before the American Revolutionary War. The very first celebration of Independence Day was in 1777, six years before Americans knew whether or not the new nation would survive the war; fireworks were a part of all festivities. In 1789, George Washington's inauguration was accompanied by a fireworks display. This early fascination with fireworks' noise and color continues today.
In 2004, Disneyland, in Anaheim, California, pioneered the commercial use of aerial fireworks launched with compressed air rather than gunpowder. The display shell explodes in the air using an electronic timer. The advantages of compressed air launch are a reduction in fumes, and much greater accuracy in height and timing. The Walt Disney Company is now the largest consumer of fireworks in the United States.
In addition to large public displays, people often buy small amounts of fireworks for their own celebrations. Fireworks on general sale are usually less powerful than professional fireworks. Types include firecrackers, rockets, cakes (multishot aerial fireworks) and smoke balls.
Fireworks can also be used in an agricultural capacity as bird scarers.
Colors in fireworks are usually generated by pyrotechnic stars—usually just called stars—which produce intense light when ignited. Stars contain five basic types of ingredients.
Some of the more common color-producing compounds are tabulated here. The color of a compound in a firework will be the same as its color in a flame test (shown at right). Not all compounds that produce a colored flame are appropriate for coloring fireworks, however. Ideal colorants will produce a pure, intense color when present in moderate concentration.
|Red||Strontium (intense red)
Lithium (medium red)
|SrCO3 (strontium carbonate)|
|Orange||Calcium||CaCl2 (calcium chloride)|
|Yellow||Sodium||NaNO3 (sodium nitrate)|
|Green||Barium||BaCl2 (barium chloride)|
|Blue||Copper halides||CuCl2 (copper chloride), at low temperature|
|Indigo||Caesium||CsNO3 (caesium nitrate)|
|KNO3 (potassium nitrate)
RbNO3 (rubidium nitrate)
|Gold||Charcoal, iron, or lampblack|
|White||Titanium, aluminium, beryllium, or magnesium powders|
The brightest stars, often called Mag Stars, are fueled by aluminium. Magnesium is rarely used in the fireworks industry due to its lack of ability to form a protective oxide layer. Often an alloy of both metals called magnalium is used.
Many of the chemicals used in the manufacture of fireworks are non-toxic, while many more have some degree of toxicity, can cause skin sensitivity, or exist in dust form and are thereby inhalation hazards. Still others are poisons if directly ingested or inhaled.
The following table is an educational guideline for the chemistry of fireworks.
|Aluminium||Aluminium is used to produce silver and white flames and sparks. It is a common component of sparklers.|
|Barium||Barium is used to create green colors in fireworks, and it can also help stabilize other volatile elements.|
|Carbon||Carbon is one of the main components of black powder, which is used as a propellent in fireworks. Carbon provides the fuel for a firework. Common forms include carbon black, sugar, or starch.|
|Calcium||Calcium is used to deepen firework colors. Calcium salts produce orange fireworks.|
|Chlorine||Chlorine is an important component of many oxidizers in fireworks. Several of the metal salts that produce colors contain chlorine.|
|Caesium||Caesium compounds help to oxidize firework mixtures. Caesium compounds produce an indigo color in fireworks.|
|Copper||Copper compounds produce blue colors in fireworks.|
|Iron||Iron is used to produce sparks. The heat of the metal determines the color of the sparks.|
|Potassium||Potassium compounds help to oxidize firework mixtures. Potassium nitrate, potassium chlorate, and potassium perchlorate are all important oxidizers. The potassium content can impart a violet color to the sparks.|
|Lithium||Lithium is a metal that is used to impart a red color to fireworks. Lithium carbonate, in particular, is a common colorant.|
|Magnesium||Magnesium burns a very bright white, so it is used to add white sparks or improve the overall brilliance of a firework.|
|Sodium||Sodium imparts a gold or yellow color to fireworks, however, the color is often so bright that it frequently masks other, less intense colors.|
|Oxygen||Fireworks include oxidizers, which are substances that produce oxygen in order for burning to occur. The oxidizers are usually nitrates, chlorates, or perchlorates. Sometimes the same substance is used to provide oxygen and color.|
|Phosphorus||Phosphorus burns spontaneously in air and is also responsible for some glow in the dark effects. It may be a component of a firework's fuel.|
|Radium||Radium would create intense green colors in fireworks, but it is far too hazardous to use.|
|Rubidium||Rubidium compounds help to oxidize firework mixtures. Rubidium compounds produce a violet-red color in fireworks.|
|Sulfur||Sulfur is a component of black powder, and as such, it is found in a firework's propellant/fuel.|
|Antimony||Antimony is used to create firework glitter effects.|
|Strontium||Strontium salts impart a red color to fireworks. Strontium compounds are also important for stabilizing fireworks mixtures.|
|Titanium||Titanium metal can be burned as powder or flakes to produce silver sparks.|
|Zinc||Zinc is a bluish white metal that is used to create smoke effects for fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices.|
A cake is a cluster of individual tubes linked by fuse that fires a series of aerial effects. Tube diameters can range in size from 1⁄4–4 inches (6.4–101.6 mm), and a single cake can have over 1,000 shots. The variety of effects within individual cakes is often such that they defy descriptive titles and are instead given cryptic names such as "Bermuda Triangle", "Pyro Glyphics", "Waco Wakeup", and "Poisonous Spider", to name a few. Others are simply quantities of 2.5–4 in (64–102 mm) shells fused together in single-shot tubes.
A shell containing several large stars that travel a short distance before breaking apart into smaller stars, creating a crisscrossing grid-like effect. Strictly speaking, a crossette star should split into 4 pieces which fly off symmetrically, making a cross. Once limited to silver or gold effects, colored crossettes such as red, green, or white are now very common.
A spherical break of colored stars, similar to a peony, but with stars that leave a visible trail of sparks.
Essentially the same as a peony shell, but with fewer and larger stars. These stars travel a longer-than-usual distance from the shell break before burning out. For instance, if a 3 in (76 mm) peony shell is made with a star size designed for a 6 in (150 mm) shell, it is then considered a dahlia. Some dahlia shells are cylindrical rather than spherical to allow for larger stars.
A type of Chrysanthemum or Peony, with a center cluster of non-moving stars, normally of a contrasting color or effect.
Inserts that propel themselves rapidly away from the shell burst, often resembling fish swimming away.
Named for the shape of its break, this shell features heavy long-burning tailed stars that only travel a short distance from the shell burst before free-falling to the ground. Also known as a waterfall shell. Sometimes there is a glittering through the "waterfall".
Kamuro is a Japanese word meaning "boys haircut", which is what this shell resembles when fully exploded in the air. It is a dense burst of glittering silver or gold stars which leave a heavy glitter trail and shine bright in the night's sky.
A mine (aka. pot à feu) is a ground firework that expels stars and/or other garnitures into the sky. Shot from a mortar like a shell, a mine consists of a canister with the lift charge on the bottom with the effects placed on top. Mines can project small reports, serpents, small shells, as well as just stars. Although mines up to 12 inches (300 mm) diameter appear on occasion, they are usually between 3–5 inches (76–127 mm), in diameter.
A large shell containing several smaller shells of various sizes and types. The initial burst scatters the shells across the sky before they explode. Also called a bouquet shell. When a shell contains smaller shells of the same size and type, the effect is usually referred to as "Thousands". Very large bouquet shells (up to 48 inches (1,200 mm)) are frequently used in Japan.
A shell containing a relatively few large comet stars arranged in such a way as to burst with large arms or tendrils, producing a palm tree-like effect. Proper palm shells feature a thick rising tail that displays as the shell ascends, thereby simulating the tree trunk to further enhance the "palm tree" effect. One might also see a burst of color inside the palm burst (given by a small insert shell) to simulate coconuts.
A spherical break of colored stars that burn without a tail effect. The peony is the most commonly seen shell type.
A shell with stars specially arranged so as to create a ring. Variations include smiley faces, hearts, and clovers.
A Roman candle is a long tube containing several large stars which fire at a regular interval. These are commonly arranged in fan shapes or crisscrossing shapes, at a closer proximity to the audience. Some larger Roman candles contain small shells (bombettes) rather than stars.
A shell intended to produce a loud report rather than a visual effect. Salute shells usually contain flash powder, producing a quick flash followed by a very loud report. Titanium may be added to the flash powder mix to produce a cloud of bright sparks around the flash. Salutes are commonly used in large quantities during finales to create intense noise and brightness. They are often cylindrical in shape to allow for a larger payload of flash powder, but ball shapes are common and cheaper as well. Salutes are also called Maroons.
A shell containing a fast burning tailed or charcoal star that is burst very hard so that the stars travel in a straight and flat trajectory before slightly falling and burning out. This appears in the sky as a series of radial lines much like the legs of a spider.
An effect created by large, slow-burning stars within a shell that leave a trail of large glittering sparks behind and make a sizzling noise. The "time" refers to the fact that these stars burn away gradually, as opposed to the standard brocade "rain" effect where a large amount of glitter material is released at once.
Similar to a chrysanthemum, but with long-burning silver or gold stars that produce a soft, dome-shaped weeping willow-like effect.
Fireworks pose risks of injury to people, and of damage, largely as a fire hazard.
Fireworks produce smoke and dust that may contain residues of heavy metals, sulfur-coal compounds and some low concentration toxic chemicals. These by-products of fireworks combustion will vary depending on the mix of ingredients of a particular firework. (The color green, for instance, may be produced by adding the various compounds and salts of barium, some of which are toxic, and some of which are not.) Some fishers have noticed and reported to environmental authorities that firework residues can hurt fish and other water-life because some may contain toxic compounds such as antimony sulfide. This is a subject of much debate due to the fact that large-scale pollution from other sources makes it difficult to measure the amount of pollution that comes specifically from fireworks. The possible toxicity of any fallout may also be affected by the amount of black powder used, type of oxidizer, colors produced and launch method.
Perchlorate, a salt when in solid form, dissolves and moves rapidly in groundwater and surface water. Even in low concentrations in drinking water supplies, perchlorate is known to inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. As of 2010, there are no federal drinking water standards for perchlorate in the United States, but the US Environmental Protection Agency has studied the impacts of perchlorate on the environment as well as drinking water.
Several US states have enacted drinking water standard for perchlorate including Massachusetts in 2006. California's legislature enacted AB 826, the Perchlorate Contamination Prevention Act of 2003, requiring California's Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) to adopt regulations specifying best management practices for perchlorate and perchlorate-containing substances. The Perchlorate Best Management Practices were adopted on December 31, 2005 and became operative on July 1, 2006. California issued drinking water standards in 2007. Several other states, including Arizona, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, and Texas have established non-enforceable, advisory levels for perchlorate.
The courts have also taken action with regard to perchlorate contamination. For example, in 2003, a federal district court in California found that Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) applied because perchlorate is ignitable and therefore a "characteristic" hazardous waste.
Pollutants from fireworks raise concerns because of potential health risks associated with hazardous by-products. For most people the effects of exposure to low levels of toxins from many sources over long periods are unknown. For persons with asthma or multiple chemical sensitivity the smoke from fireworks may aggravate existing health problems. Environmental pollution is also a concern because heavy metals and other chemicals from fireworks may contaminate water supplies and because fireworks combustion gases might contribute to such things as acid rain which can cause vegetation and even property damage. However, gunpowder smoke and the solid residues are basic, and as such the net effect of fireworks on acid rain is debatable. The carbon used in fireworks is produced from wood and does not lead to more carbon dioxide in the air. What is not disputed is that most consumer fireworks leave behind a considerable amount of solid debris, including both readily biodegradable components as well as nondegradable plastic items. Concerns over pollution, consumer safety, and debris have restricted the sale and use of consumer fireworks in many countries. Professional displays, on the other hand, remain popular around the world.
Others argue that alleged concern over pollution from fireworks constitutes a red herring, since the amount of contamination from fireworks is minuscule in comparison to emissions from sources such as the burning of fossil fuels. In the US, some states and local governments restrict the use of fireworks in accordance with the Clean Air Act which allows laws relating to the prevention and control of outdoor air pollution to be enacted. Few governmental entities, by contrast, effectively limit pollution from burning fossil fuels such as diesel fuel or coal. Coal-fueled electricity generation alone is a much greater source of heavy metal contamination in the environment than fireworks.
Some companies within the U.S. fireworks industry claim they are working with Chinese manufacturers to reduce and ultimately hope to eliminate of the pollutant perchlorate.
In Australia, Type 1 fireworks are permitted to be sold to the public. For anything that has a large explosion or gets airborne, users need to register for a Type 2 Licence. On August 24, 2009 the ACT Government announced a complete ban on backyard fireworks. The Northern Territory allows fireworks to be sold to residents 18 years or older in the days leading up to Northern Territory Day (July 1) for personal purposes. The types of fireworks allowed for sale is restricted to quieter fireworks, which can only be used at the address provided to the seller.
The use, storage and sale of commercial-grade fireworks in Canada is licensed by Natural Resources Canada's Explosive Regulatory Division (ERD). Unlike their consumer counterpart, commercial-grade fireworks function differently, and come in a wide range of sizes from 50 mm (2 inches) up to 300 mm (12 inches) or more in diameter. Commercial grade fireworks require a Fireworks Operator Certificate (FOC), obtained from the ERD by completing a one-day safety course. There are two different categories of FOC: one for pyrotechnics (those used on stage and in movies) and another for display fireworks (those used in dedicated fireworks shows). Each requires completion of its own course, though there are special categories of FOC which allow visiting operators to run their shows with the assistance of a Canadian supervisor.
The display fireworks FOC has 2 levels: assistant (which allows you to work under a qualified supervisor until you are familiar with the basics), and fully licensed. A fully licensed display fireworks operator can also be further endorsed for marine launch, flying saucers, and other more technically demanding fireworks displays.
The pyrotechnician FOC has 3 levels: pyrotechnician (which allows work under a supervisor), supervising pyrotechnician, and special effects pyrotechnician (which allows the fabrication of certain types of pyrotechnic devices). Additionally, a special effects pyrotechnician can be endorsed for the use of detonating cord.
Since commercial-grade fireworks are shells which are loaded into separate mortars by hand, there is danger in every stage of the setup. Setup of these fireworks involves the placement and securing of mortars on wooden or wire racks; loading of the shells; and if electronically firing, wiring and testing. The mortars are generally made of FRE (fiber-reinforced epoxy) or HDPE (high-density polyethelene). Older mortars made of sheet steel have been banned by most countries due to the problem of shrapnel produced during a misfire.
Setup of mortars in Canada for an oblong firing site require that a mortar be configured at an angle of 10 to 15 degrees down-range with a safety distance of at least 200 meters down-range and 100 meters surrounding the mortars, plus distance adjustments for wind speed and direction. In June 2007, the ERD approved circular firing sites for use with vertically fired mortars with a safety distance of at least 175 meter radius, plus distance adjustments for wind speed and direction.
Loading of shells is a delicate process, and must be done with caution, and a loader must ensure not only the mortar is clean, but also make sure that no part of their body is directly over the mortar in case of a premature fire. Wiring the shells is a painstaking process; whether the shells are being fired manually or electronically, any "chain fusing" or wiring of electrical ignitors, care must be taken to prevent the fuse (an electrical match, often incorrectly called a squib) from igniting. If the setup is wired electrically, the electrical matches are usually plugged into a "firing rail" or "breakout box" which runs back to the main firing board; from there, the Firing Board is simply hooked up to a car battery, and can proceed with firing the show when ready.
Since commercial-grade fireworks are so much larger and more powerful, setup and firing crews are always under great pressure to ensure they safely set up, fire, and clean up after a show.
In Chile, the manufacture, importation, possession and use of fireworks is prohibited to unauthorized individuals; only certified firework companies can legally use fireworks. As they are considered a type of explosive, offenders can in principle be tried before military courts, though this is unusual in practice.
The European Union's policy is aimed at harmonising and standardising the EU member states' policies on the regulation of production, transportation, sale, consumption and overall safety of fireworks across Europe.
In Belgium, each municipality can decide how to regulate fireworks. During New Year's Eve, lighting fireworks without a licence is allowed in 35% of the 308 Flemish municipalities, in around 50% a permit from the burgemeester (mayor) is required, and around 14% of municipalities have banned consumer fireworks altogether.
In Finland those under 18 years old haven't been allowed to buy any fireworks since 2009. Safety goggles are required. The use of fireworks is generally allowed on the evening and night of New Year's Eve, December 31. In some municipalities of Western Finland it is allowed to use fireworks without a fire station's permission on the last weekend of August. With the fire station's permission, fireworks can be used year-round.
In Germany, amateurs over 18 years old are allowed to buy and ignite fireworks of Category F2 for several hours on 31 December and 1 January; each German municipality is authorised to limit the number of hours this may last locally. The sale of Category F3 and F4 fireworks to consumers is prohibited. Lighting fireworks is forbidden near churches, hospitals, retirement homes and wooden or thatch-roofed buildings. All major German cities organise professional fireworks shows.
In the Netherlands, fireworks cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 16. It may only be sold during a period of three days before a new year. If one of these days is a Sunday, that day is excluded from sale and sale may commence one day earlier.
In the Republic of Ireland, fireworks are illegal and possession is punishable by huge fines and/or prison. However, around Halloween a large amount of fireworks are set off, due to the ease of being able to purchase from Northern Ireland.
Fireworks in the UK have become more strictly regulated since 1997. Since 2005, the law has been gradually harmonised in accordance with other EU member states' laws.
Fireworks are mostly used in England, Scotland and Wales around Diwali, in late October or early November, and Guy Fawkes Night, November 5. In the UK, responsibility for the safety of firework displays is shared between the Health and Safety Executive, fire brigades and local authorities. Currently, there is no national system of licensing for fireworks operators, but in order to purchase display fireworks, operators must have licensed explosives storage and public liability insurance.
Fireworks cannot be sold to people under the age of 18 and are not permitted to be set off between 11pm and 7am with exceptions only for:
The maximum legal NEC (net explosive content) of a UK firework available to the public is two kilograms. Jumping jacks, strings of firecrackers, shell firing tubes, bangers and mini-rockets were all banned during the late 1990s. In 2004, single-shot air bombs and bottle rockets were banned, and rocket sizes were limited. From March 2008 any firework with over 5% flashpowder per tube has been classified 1.3G. The aim of these measures was to eliminate "pocket money" fireworks, and to limit the disruptive effects of loud bangs.
In Iceland, the Icelandic law states that anyone may purchase and use fireworks during a certain period around New Year's Eve. Most places that sell fireworks in Iceland make their own rules about age of buyers, usually it is around 16. The people of Reykjavík spend enormous sums of money on fireworks, most of which are fired as midnight approaches on December 31. As a result, every New Year's Eve the city is lit up with fireworks displays.
Fireworks in New Zealand are available from 2 to 5 November, around Guy Fawkes Day, and may be purchased only by those 18 years of age and older (up from 14 years pre-2007). Despite the restriction on when fireworks may be sold, there is no restriction regarding when fireworks may be used. The types of fireworks available to the public are multi-shot "cakes", Roman candles, single shot shooters, ground and wall spinners, fountains, cones, sparklers, and various novelties, such as smoke bombs and Pharaoh's serpents. Consumer fireworks are also not allowed to be louder than 90 decibels.
In the United States, the laws governing fireworks vary widely from state to state, or from county to county. Federal, state, and local authorities govern the use of display fireworks in the United States. At the federal level, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates consumer fireworks through the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA). The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets forth a set of codes which give the minimum standards of display fireworks use and safety in the US. Both state and local jurisdictions can further add restrictions on the use and safety requirements of display fireworks. There are currently 45 states in the United States in which fireworks are legal .
Adobe Fireworks (formerly Macromedia Fireworks) is a discontinued bitmap and vector graphics editor, which Adobe acquired in 2005. Fireworks is made for web designers for rapidly creating website prototypes and application interfaces. Its features include slices, which are segments of an image that are converted to HTML elements, and the ability to add hotspots, which are segments of an image that are converted to hyperlinks. It is designed to integrate with other Adobe products such as Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Flash. It is available as either a standalone product or bundled with Adobe Creative Suite. Previous versions were bundled with Macromedia Studio.
On May 6, 2013, Adobe announced that Fireworks would be phased out, citing the increasing overlap in functionality with its other products such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Edge. Adobe will continue to provide security updates and perhaps bug fixes for the current version of Fireworks, but does not plan to add any new features beyond what is in Fireworks CS6.Bonfire Night
Bonfire Night is a name given to various annual celebrations characterised by bonfires and fireworks. The event celebrates different traditions on different dates, depending on the country. Some of the most popular instances include Guy Fawkes Night (5 November) in Great Britain, which is also celebrated in some Commonwealth countries; Northern Ireland's Eleventh Night (11 July), and 5 November in Newfoundland and Labrador. In various parts of Ireland, Bonfire Nights are held on St John's Eve (23 June), Bealtaine eve (30 April) and Halloween (31 October). In Scandinavia it is known as Walpurgis Night (30 April). St John's Eve is also a very important celebration in Spain and Northern Portugal. Several other cultures also include night-time celebrations involving bonfires and/or fireworks.
Bonfire Night is also celebrated in Northern Ireland on 15 August in Catholic communities to mark the Feast of the Assumption.Boston Pops Orchestra
The Boston Pops Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts that specializes in playing light classical and popular music.
The Boston Pops was founded in 1885 as a second, popular identity of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), founded four years earlier. Consisting primarily of musicians from the BSO, although generally not all of the first-chair players, the orchestra performs a Spring season of popular music and a holiday program in December, the BSO schedule on break at those times. For the Pops, the seating on the floor of Symphony Hall is reconfigured from auditorium seating to banquet/cafe seating. In addition, the Pops also plays an annual concert at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade every Fourth of July. Their performance of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" is famous for the unfurling of the American flag that occurs as the song enters its final moments. Identified with its long-time director Arthur Fiedler, in the past the orchestra has recorded extensively, made frequent tours, and appeared regularly on television. The Pops Spring and Holiday seasons allowed the BSO to become one of the first American orchestras to provide year-round employment for its musicians.The current Music Director of the Boston Pops Orchestra is Keith Lockhart.Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year (or generally referred to as Lunar New Year globally) is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is usually referred to as the Spring Festival in mainland China, and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. Observances traditionally take place from the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February. In 2019, the first day of the Chinese New Year was on Tuesday, 5 February, initiating the Year of the Pig.
Chinese New Year is a major holiday in Greater China and has strongly influenced lunar new year celebrations of China's neighbouring cultures, including the Korean New Year (seol), the Tết of Vietnam, and the Losar of Tibet. It is also celebrated worldwide in regions and countries with significant Overseas Chinese populations, including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Mauritius, as well as many in North America and Europe.Chinese New Year is associated with several myths and customs. The festival was traditionally a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the New Year vary widely, and the evening preceding Chinese New Year's Day is frequently regarded as an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean their house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. Another custom is the decoration of windows and doors with red paper-cuts and couplets. Popular themes among these paper-cuts and couplets include that of good fortune or happiness, wealth, and longevity. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. For the northern regions of China, dumplings are featured prominently in meals celebrating the festival.Copart 200
The Copart 200 was a race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series which took place at the Milwaukee Mile.Diwali
Diwali, Deepavali or Dipavali is the Hindu festival of lights, which is celebrated every autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere). One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolises the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance." Light is a metaphor for knowledge and consciousness. During the celebration, temples, homes, shops and office buildings are brightly illuminated. The preparations, and rituals, for the festival typically last five days, with the climax occurring on the third day coinciding with the darkest night of the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, the festival generally falls between mid-October and mid-November.In the lead-up to Diwali, celebrants will prepare by cleaning, renovating, and decorating their homes and workplaces. During the climax, revellers adorn themselves in their finest clothes, illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas (oil lamps or candles), offer puja (worship) to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, light fireworks, and partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared. Diwali is also a major cultural event for the Hindu and Jain diaspora from the Indian subcontinent.The five-day festival originated in the Indian subcontinent and is mentioned in early Sanskrit texts. The names of the festive days of Diwali, as well as the rituals, vary by region. Diwali is usually celebrated eighteen days after the Dussehra (Dasara, Dasain) festival with Dhanteras, or the regional equivalent, marking the first day of the festival when celebrants prepare by cleaning their homes and making decorations on the floor, such as rangoli. The second day is Choti Diwali, or equivalent in north India, while for Hindus in the south of India it is Diwali proper. Western, central, eastern and northern Indian communities observe Diwali on the third day and the darkest night of the traditional month. In some parts of India, the day after Diwali is marked with the Govardhan Puja and Diwali Padva, which is dedicated to the relationship between wife and husband. Some Hindu communities mark the last day as Bhai Dooj, which is dedicated to the bond between sister and brother, while other Hindu and Sikh craftsmen communities mark this day as Vishwakarma Puja and observe it by performing maintenance in their work spaces and offering prayers.Some other faiths in India also celebrate their respective festivals alongside Diwali. The Jains observe their own Diwali, which marks the final liberation of Mahavira, the Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind from a Mughal Empire prison, while Newar Buddhists, unlike other Buddhists, celebrate Diwali by worshiping Lakshmi. The festival of Diwali is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India, Malaysia (except Sarawak), Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.Explosion
An explosion is a rapid increase in volume and release of energy in an extreme manner, usually with the generation of high temperatures and the release of gases. Supersonic explosions created by high explosives are known as detonations and travel via supersonic shock waves. Subsonic explosions are created by low explosives through a slower burning process known as deflagration.Firecracker
A firecracker (cracker, noise maker, banger, or bunger) is a small explosive device primarily designed to produce a large amount of noise, especially in the form of a loud bang; any visual effect is incidental to this goal. They have fuses, and are wrapped in a heavy paper casing to contain the explosive compound. Firecrackers, along with fireworks, originated in China.Fireworks photography
Fireworks photography is the process of taking photographs of fireworks at night. It is a type of night photography, specifically using available light of the fireworks instead of artificial light. Without using the flash on the camera, the photographer often exposes the image for a period of time, known as long exposure. Brighter fireworks sometimes support shorter exposure times.
Exposing the image for long periods of time, requires that the camera is held as steady as possible by the photographer, as slight movements will result in notable camera shake. The most common and effective equipment used to prevent camera shake for long image exposures are a good sturdy tripod along with a remote shutter release (avoiding to have to touch the camera when taking the shot).
Another challenge the photographer faces with exposure timing is having to estimate how long to expose the image in relation to when the firework bursts. Opening the shutter just before the firework bursts and then closing it after its finished would provide the ideal timing for capturing that 'perfect moment'.
This can be achieved by setting the camera to 'b' or 'bulb' whereby exposure times are under the direct control of the photographer through the shutter release button.Guy Fawkes Night
Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night and Firework Night, is an annual commemoration observed on 5 November, primarily in the United Kingdom. Its history begins with the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London; and months later, the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot's failure.
Within a few decades Gunpowder Treason Day, as it was known, became the predominant English state commemoration, but as it carried strong Protestant religious overtones it also became a focus for anti-Catholic sentiment. Puritans delivered sermons regarding the perceived dangers of popery, while during increasingly raucous celebrations common folk burnt effigies of popular hate-figures, such as the pope. Towards the end of the 18th century reports appear of children begging for money with effigies of Guy Fawkes and 5 November gradually became known as Guy Fawkes Day. Towns such as Lewes and Guildford were in the 19th century scenes of increasingly violent class-based confrontations, fostering traditions those towns celebrate still, albeit peaceably. In the 1850s changing attitudes resulted in the toning down of much of the day's anti-Catholic rhetoric, and the Observance of 5th November Act was repealed in 1859. Eventually the violence was dealt with, and by the 20th century Guy Fawkes Day had become an enjoyable social commemoration, although lacking much of its original focus. The present-day Guy Fawkes Night is usually celebrated at large organised events, centred on a bonfire and extravagant firework displays.
Settlers exported Guy Fawkes Night to overseas colonies, including some in North America, where it was known as Pope Day. Those festivities died out with the onset of the American Revolution. Claims that Guy Fawkes Night was a Protestant replacement for older customs like Samhain are disputed, although another old celebration, Halloween, has lately increased in popularity in England, and according to some writers, may threaten the continued observance of 5 November.Hana-bi
Hana-bi (はなび, HANA-BI), released in the United States as Fireworks, is a 1997 Japanese crime drama film written, directed and edited by Takeshi Kitano, who also stars in it. The film's score was composed by Joe Hisaishi in his fourth collaboration with Kitano. Hana-bi (花火, Hanabi) is the Japanese word for "fireworks."
The unexpected international success of Hana-bi, coupled with Sonatine's critical acclaim, established Kitano as one of the foremost Japanese filmmakers of his time.Independence Day (United States)
Independence Day (colloquial: the Fourth of July) is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject (and subordinate) to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states. The Congress had voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2, but it was not declared until July 4.Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.Music for the Royal Fireworks
The Music for the Royal Fireworks (HWV 351) is a suite for wind instruments composed by George Frideric Handel in 1749 under contract of George II of Great Britain for the fireworks in London's Green Park on 27 April 1749. It was to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) in 1748.National Day of the People's Republic of China
The National Day of the People's Republic of China is a public holiday in the People's Republic of China to celebrate the national day, and is celebrated annually on October 1.The PRC (People's Republic of China) was founded on October 1, 1949, with a ceremony celebrating the forming of the Central People's Government taking place in Tiananmen Square on the same day that year. The Central People's Government passed the Resolution on the National Day of the People's Republic of China on December 2, 1949, and declared that October 1 is the National Day.The National Day marks the start of the only Golden Weeks in the PRC that the government has kept. Removing one of the Golden Weeks caused controversies when it happened in 2007.
The National Day is celebrated throughout mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau with a variety of government-organized festivities, including fireworks and concerts. Public places, such as Tiananmen Square in Beijing, are decorated in a festive theme. Portraits of revered leaders, such as Mao Zedong, are publicly displayed.New Year's Eve
In the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Eve (also known as Old Year's Day in many countries), the last day of the year, is on 31 December. In many countries, New Year's Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Some Christians attend a watchnight service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into New Year's Day, 1 January.
Samoa and Kiritimati (Christmas Island), part of Kiribati, are examples of the first places to welcome the New Year while American Samoa and Baker Island in the United States of America are among the last.Pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics is the science of using materials capable of undergoing self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions for the production of heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sound. Its etymology stems from the Greek words pyro ("fire") and tekhnikos ("made by art"). Pyrotechnics include not only the manufacture of fireworks but items such as safety matches, oxygen candles, explosive bolts and fasteners, components of the automotive airbag and gas pressure blasting in mining, quarrying and demolition.
Individuals responsible for the safe storage, handling, and functioning of pyrotechnic devices are referred to as pyrotechnicians.Sydney New Year's Eve
Sydney New Year's Eve is an annual multi-tiered event held every New Year's Eve in Sydney, Australia. Centering on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and surrounding Port Jackson, its main events are two pyrotechnic displays: the 9pm Family Fireworks and the Midnight Fireworks, both of which are televised nationally with the more popular Midnight Fireworks televised globally.
Synchronised to a soundtrack of popular music from past and present, the fireworks explode off the arches, catwalk and roadway of the Harbour Bridge, including the Opera House, nearby city buildings and up to eight barges evenly divided on both sides of the bridge. Each year a new theme is chosen and is regularly viewed by more than one million people surrounding the harbour and one billion worldwide for the Midnight Fireworks. For the 2010/11 event, an audience of 1.5 million watched the display from the local harbour and a reported 1.1 billion globally.The event was first televised on 31 December 1995. The 9pm Family Fireworks were originally the main show lasting around twenty minutes, with the Midnight Fireworks only lasting around three and featuring only the Sydney Tower. From 1999 onwards the Midnight Fireworks became the main event of the two. The 1998 the Midnight Fireworks had a length of ten minutes and were increased to twenty five the following year. In 2001 the fireworks went for fifteen minutes. From NYE 2005 to present the Midnight Fireworks have run for twelve minutes in reference to the 12 months of the year.The City of Sydney Council is the official presenter of the event.Taipei 101
Taipei 101 / TAIPEI 101, formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center – is a landmark supertall skyscraper in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. The building was officially classified as the world's tallest from 2004 until the 2010 completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. In 2011, the building received Platinum certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, and became the tallest and largest green building in the world. At one point it had the fastest elevator in the world, traveling at 60.6 km/h (37.7 mph) and transporting passengers from the 5th to 89th floor in 37 seconds.Construction on the 101-story tower, which is designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes, lasted from 1999 to 2004.
Designed to evoke both technology and Asian tradition, with a postmodernist style that puts a modern spin on traditional design elements, the tower serves as an icon of modern Taiwan. Fireworks launched from Taipei 101 feature prominently in international New Year's Eve broadcasts and the structure appears frequently in travel literature and international media.
A multi-level shopping mall adjoining the tower houses hundreds of stores, restaurants, and clubs.
Taipei 101 is owned by Taipei Financial Center Corporation.Thrissur Pooram
Thrissur Pooram is an annual Hindu temple festival held in Kerala, India. It is held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur every year on the Pooram (pronounced [puːɾam]) day - the day when the moon rises with the Pooram star in the Malayalam Calendar month of Medam. It is the largest and most famous of all poorams.