why do we do fireworks on 4th of july

Why do we set off fireworks on the 4th of July? Because we always have. In 1777, one year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia held a massive celebration. American University s James R. Heintze
this account, from the Virginia Gazette One of the most elaborate celebrations in 1777 and the first organized celebration of its kind occurred in Philadelphia. This event had all of the elements of typical future celebrations the discharge of cannon, one round for each state in the union, the ringing of bells, a dinner, the use of music, the drinking of toasts (it would subsequently be traditional to have one toast for each state in the union), loud huzzas, a parade, fireworks, and the use of the nation s colors, in this case the dressing up of armed ships and gallies in the harbor. The fireworks celebration that night began and ended with 13 fireworks being set off from the city s commons. Boston also had fireworks that year, and the tradition grew from there.


July 4th fireworks displays have even occurred, when explorer Richard Byrd set off fireworks on a relatively warm day 33 degrees below zero. Now that s patriotism. More from Smithsonian. com: While may seem like a very American tradition, especially on the Fourth of July, their origins go back centuries before in Philadelphia in 1777. The earliest forms of such pyrotechnics can be traced to around 2,000 years ago in China. During the Han Dynasty in 200 B. C. , people are to have roasted bamboo stalks until they would turn black and sizzle, and the air inside the hollow stalks would explode. Baozhu is a Mandarin word for firecracker that translates directly to. say that at some point between 600 A. D. and 900 A. D. , took that idea to the next level by filling bamboo shoots with gunpowder made from saltpeter (potassium nitrate, sulfur, and carbon acquired from charcoal), and throwing them into a fire pit.


Steel dust or cast-iron shavings were added to make them sparkle. Another recipe for Chinese fireworks published by the in the 18th century reported that Chinese fire was made by crushing old iron pots and scraps into sand and adding the sand to gunpowder. These firecrackers were often used during New Year Festivals and weddings to scare off evil spirits. Get your history fix in one place: sign up for the weekly TIME History newsletter As the ingredients for gunpowder spread to the West after the Silk Road opened up trade and the Mongols made their way to Europe in the 13th century, so did fireworks, according to Simon Werritt, a science historian and author of. They became a part of official celebrations, from the annual at the Castello Sant Angelo in Rome to the 1533 coronation of Anne Boleyn as Queen of England. So it was no surprise that, as soon as July Fourth began to be celebrated as America s Independence Day, fireworks were part of the plan.


After all, did say he hoped the anniversary of independence would be marked for years to come by guns and bonfires and illuminations. Because the first July 4 fireworks display happened in the middle of the Revolutionary War, some historians believe they were supposed to be a The celebrations at the time would have also included the firing of cannons and guns, adding to the explosive nature of the festivities. With the war s end and, those firearms were eventually phased out of the celebrations and replaced almost entirely by the fireworks, which were often given the official stamp of approval in the hope of drawing citizens to public celebrations instead of more dangerous private firework shows. Today, though fireworks are now a well-established July 4 tradition, they ve still retained some link to their origins: in 2016, according to the, $296. 2 million worth of fireworks were imported to the U. S. from China.

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