Summer solstice is on its way and in Catalonia and Valencia, as well as in other parts of the world, celebrations take place to commemorate the shortest night of the year, or Saint John’s Eve. This festival is always on the night of the 23rdJune and it is celebrated with food and drink. It is also celebrated with fireworks and bonfires and because of this it is also called the ‘Night of Fire’. In honour of this celebration this blog post takes a look at fireworks.
Fireworks originated in ancient China in the 9th century and Marco Polo is credited with bringing them to Europe in the 12th century. Fireworks are made from a container which holds gunpowder, a fuse to provide a time delay and a charge to light the gunpowder. The colours are made from different chemicals that are added to the gunpowder, for example, strontium carbonate makes red fireworks and copper chloride makes them blue.
There are lots of different types and one of the most common are sparklers that can be held in the hand, used indoors and can also decorate birthday cakes! Bangers (also called firecrackers in the USA) are another popular type. Bangers are small but make lots of noise!
Larger varieties of fireworks include ‘Catherine wheels’ which rotate and ‘fountains’ which explode from the ground. Rockets blast off into the sky. There are many other popular skye explosions including chrysanthemums (named after a flower) that burst outwards from the centre.
Safety first – The firework code!
When you use fireworks you should remember some simple safety tips.
Read and follow the instructions on each firework.
After you light a firework, move away.
Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
Direct any rocket fireworks well away from other people.
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