Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Fireworks are strange, beautiful things. They carry a whiff of Orient mystery and serve it up with a flash and a bang. Look at the names of the sparkly things: Diamonds in the Dark, Electric Rainbow, Magic Crystals, Black Cats. They sound almost hallucinatory.
The London Eye on New Year's Eve

When I was living in Valencia, in Spain, there were fireworks every night during July. We went to see them at a tiny park near the dried up river bed. No silly safety regulations for the Valencianos; we lay on the ground and watched the huge fountains of light overhead. It was like being inside a Star Wars movie, or going warp speed. I never experienced fireworks like that before, and I suppose I never will again.
Imagine this right overhead.

When we visit our cousins in Massachusetts, we view the 'works from the beach. The inlet is surrounded by at least six far off towns, so we get to watch all their displays from one place. The kids race along the sand, and at some point someone sends up those glowing lanterns that were a big part of that movie, Tangled. 

Fireworks were recorded in the 7th century, in China. How did that long-ago inventor feel when he (or she) discovered those colorful explosions? Did they run away, screaming? That would have been quite something in the 7th century. Or were they all, "WooHoo! YESSS!"

In the US we'll be setting off fireworks for the Fourth. England waits until Guy Fawkes night, in November, and Ireland celebrates Halloween with the bangers. Valencia has the entire month of July, as I said. 
Guy Fawkes night

Setting up a display is an artwork in itself. The largest ones require gears, chains, and precision timing. When you add music to the mix that requires a new level of physics and pyrotechnics. 
Fireworks set up

Of course, I must add that people study to be able to do this. Be very, very careful on your own - in fact, leave it to the pros and go and watch a professional display.

Or this could happen:


Connie J Jasperson said...

Oh my - I have a friend who suffered serious injuries from an epic fireworks fail :(

WE are very careful with them - we go to shows rather than having them in our own yard. The neighbors appreciate this!

Krista McLaughlin said...

I love fireworks! That looks like an awesome display!

My family and I didn't go to the fireworks one year. We stayed to watch from our back porch. That year, there was an accident and several fireworks got shot into the crowd. Very dangerous. The city doesn't even do them anymore; someone does them privately. Yikes!

David M. Brown said...

Great post Alison.

I used to love going to watch the firework displays and bonfires in November in the UK.

The dangers of fireworks are off-putting but that video proves a lot of the accidents are from foolhardy ventures.

Firework displays are to be enjoyed but in the hands of professionals of course :)

jenny milchman said...

Wow, I had no idea how the setup looked! Cool. Unfortunately I have disliked fireworks since having kids who got awakened by them, and were terrified. Turned me into a total July 4th and New Year's Grinch.

Happy Fourth!