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Fun Fireworks Facts

1) Fireworks are made almost entirely by hand! Artisans do anything from filling containers with explosive powder, inserting fuses, and poking holes in cylindrical tubes before placement during the production process. Here is a great video to check out a typical day making fireworks at a Chinese factory:

2) The origin of fireworks can be traced back to China, as early as 200 B.C. During the Han Dynasty, bamboo stalks were inscribed with images to document stories and ideas and then dried over a fire. The burning bamboo stalks would explode when overheated, causing a crackling sound (Smithsonian). This leads us to our next fact...

3) ...Fireworks were initially used for protection against evil. From “10-foot tall mountain men” known as the Shan Shan (Scientific American) to Nian, a monster who “would come out to eat villagers and destroy their houses” (China Highlights), a plethora of folktales and oral lore exist to support the use of early firecrackers as protection. The loud bangs from the burning bamboo stalks reverberated far enough into the atmosphere to scare away any impending threats.

4) Fireworks led to the invention of gunpowder being used for weaponry. Chinese alchemists accidentally discovered gunpowder when mixing saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal, subsequently using the mixture in the exploding bamboo stalks to create a bigger and louder explosion for celebrations. Only after this use in early fireworks was gunpowder weaponized and thus used in battles to harm an enemy.

5) Craig Hull, a native Australian started the business “Ashes to Ashes,” a fireworks funeral service for deceased pets. Cremated pets’ ashes are mixed with firework composition and scattered in the sky in a glorious colorful tribute (Ashes to Ashes).


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