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Monday, 2 February 2015



Catherine of Alexandra (d c310), an eighteen year old young lady of high rank and learning, visited the Roman Emperor Maximinus and rebuked him for his persecution of Christians. When he ordered heathen philosophers to debate with her she defended her faith with clear and lucid arguments. Consequently she was condemned to death on a wheel like that of a chuff cutter. As the wheel turned the cords miraculously snapped so the authorities instead beheaded her. From this unpleasant scenario the spinning wheel firework came to be christened a “Catherine Wheel”.

The earliest documentary evidence of fireworks dates from around AD 700 in China but there is evidence that primitive Chinese firecrackers go back to around 200BC.

The first firecrackers originated when Chinese villagers burned green bamboo, which grows so fast that air pockets get trapped inside of it and explode with a loud bang when heated.

The first sparkler was purportedly called a Cherosiphon, and was invented in AD 670.

Some sources credit a Chinese monk named Li Tian, who lived near the city of Liu Yang in Hunan Province, with the invention of firecrackers about 1,000 years ago. He filled a bamboo shoot with gunpowder and exploded it to ward off evil spirits. The Chinese people celebrate the invention of the firecracker every April 18th by offering sacrifices to Li Tian.

Fireworks reached Europe in 1292 when Marco Polo brought them from China.

The first recorded fireworks in England were at the wedding of Henry VII in 1486.

The earliest known use of the word ‘fireworks’ in English was in 1562.

Fourth of July firework displayover the Washington Monument in 1986, 

Captain John Smith the “discoverer” of Pocahontas, was the first man to set off fireworks in America.

The Observance of 5th November Act 1605 was passed by the British Parliament in 1606  as a day of thanksgiving for  King James I's escape from assassination by Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators. It does not mention fireworks.

George Handel's "Music For The Royal Fireworks" was written in.1749 to celebrate the Peace of Aix-La-Chapelle, the treaty ending the war of the Austrian succession. Over 12,000 attended its first performance in London and London Bridge was jammed solidly for three hours. The actual performance did not go well. The set was burnt by fireworks and in the ensuing panic, two people died.

Archduke Alexander Leopold of Austria burned to death at a firework display on July 12, 1795. Because of his interest in pyrotechnics, Archduke Alexander Leopold decided to prepare a firework display at Laxenburg Palace in order to surprise his sister-in-law Empress Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily. When the Empress' arrival was announced by a gunshot, Alexander Leopold lit the first rocket in the casemates of the palace. At that moment, the door opened and a draught of air threw the rocket back on the gunpowder. The gunpowder exploded and, unable to escape, Alexander Leopold was burned all over his body. He died immediately, as did his servants.

Archduke Alexander Leopold of Habsburg, 1772-1795

A fireworks factory in Enschede, the Netherlands, exploded in 2000, resulting in 22 deaths and approximately €450 million in damage.

Fireworks have been part of Fourth of July celebrations since 1777, when Philadelphia and Boston put on shows for citizens.

The famous Macy's Fourth of July fireworks display usually held over the East River in New York City has been televised nationwide on NBC since 1976.


Each year, 213 pounds of fireworks are purchased in the US and the annual fireworks industry revenue is $940 million, according to National Fire Protection Association.

San Diego’s planned 20-minute firework display on July 4, 2012 lasted only thirty seconds when an error caused them all to go off at the same time.

Tultepec, Mexico, the host of the country's National Pyrotechnic Festival, produces around half of the nation's fireworks with sixty percent of the town's population involved in the business.

China still makes about 90 per cent of the world’s fireworks.

People who make firework shells are required to wear cotton clothing—even cotton underwear—because synthetic clothing can create sparks from static that could detonate fireworks..

Iglesia Ni Cristo hosted the world’s largest fireworks display at the Philippine Arena in Ciudad de Victoria Bocaue Bulacan, Manila. on December 31, 2016. Around 100,000 people attended the festivities during which 810,904 individual rockets lit up the sky.

The largest firework display ever held in Europe consisted of a stunning 540,382 fireworks in the Norwegian town of Søgne on November 29, 2014. The event was organized by local business Svea Fyrverkerier in cooperation with the local hardware store Sør-Tre. The display lasted for one and a half hours.

The record for the most firework rockets launched in 30 seconds is 125,801.

The Walt Disney Company is said to be the world’s largest consumer of fireworks.

Sparklers are deceivingly benign. They can actually burn as hot as 2,000° F.

A blue firework is the Holy Grail of the pyrotechnic world, since the color will get washed out if the copper oxide burns too hot or too cool. Even after thousands of years, no one can make perfect blue.

Fireworks are set off on New Year's Eve because loud noises and fire were thought to banish evil spirits in ancient times.

In 2015 the town of Collecchio in Italy passed a law requiring the use of "silent fireworks" to help reduce stress on veterans, children, pets and wildlife. While not completely silent, they are much quieter than traditional fireworks and can be more colorful.

In 2013, 65 percent or 7,400, of all firework injuries occurred in the 30 days surrounding July 4th.

Sources Daily Express,

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