On November 5 the UK celebrates Guy Fawkes Day – when Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament – with huge bonfires and firework displays. Here, we take a look at the origins of fireworks.
The largest single firework was set off in Saitama, Japan, weighing a whopping 464.826 kg – about the same as a grand piano.
Fireworks originated in China some 2,000 years ago, believed to be a cooking accident where the chef mixed sulphur, charcoal and saltpetre (all commonly found in the kitchen). Compressing the compound into bamboo tubes made the little explosions even more impressive.
Chinese New Year is famously celebrated with firecrackers, which are said to ward off evil spirits. A string of firecrackers was set off in Hong Kong on New Year’s Day 2006 that lasted for 22 hours!
In the 1830s, the Italians invented ways to use different metallic powders to create specific colours.
The largest fireworks display was held in the Philippines on New Year’s Day 2016, and consisted of 810,904 fireworks which lasted for 1 hour, 1 minute and 32.25 seconds.