Factoids on fireworks

Fireworks are synonymous with celebrations the world over – and have been for quite some time. To help you better appreciate the multi-coloured displays that will be filling skies as clocks strike midnight on Saturday night, Weekender has gathered a few fascinating facts about fireworks.

The first fireworks were made in China some 2,000 years ago by stuffing bamboo segments with gunpowder. These early fireworks were more often used to scare off enemies than to mark happy occasions.

The Japanese word for firework, “Hanabi” translates literally as “fire flower”. Quite apt, really.

Sparklers cause more injuries than any other type of firework. A sparkler burns at a temperature over 15 times the boiling point of water so don’t touch it even when it’s gone out!

In 15th Century Italy, religious festivals were celebrated with plaster figures which spewed fireworks from their mouths and eyes. – Originally only orange and white colours could be created with fireworks. Some crazy Italians discovered they could make other colours by adding salts.

Pets don’t like them.

Half of all injuries from fireworks happen to children younger than 16 – so be careful and keep well out of reach of children.

A technical hitch in Oban, Scotland, in November this year caused all the fireworks to go off at once. What should have been a display lasting around half an hour was over and done with in less than a minute. The videos of the fiasco went on to become some of the most watched video clips of the year on YouTube in the UK.