why do we light fireworks on july 4th
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. Fireworks have become synonymous with the Fourth of July in the 241 years since America declared Independence, but what s up with Americans obsession with blowing stuff up? Well, it s because that s exactly how the founding fathers or one founding father anyway wanted it. John Adams was a man of vision after all, it was he and six others who dreamed up the great American experiment. And when the rebels finally beat out the red coats, Adams wrote of the occasion to his wife, Abigail, in a letter dated July 3, 1776. (This) the Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.
It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more,. Though Adams wasn t quite right about the day Congress voted for independence on July 2, 1776, though it didn t approve the text of the declaration until the Fourth of July he was pretty right about all the rest. The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks blasted off on July 4, 1777, in the cities of Boston and Philadelphia, igniting a tradition that would carry on for generations and centuries to come. But the use of fireworks in Fourth of July festivities elsewhere actually took a while to catch on. It would take decades after the Revolution for fireworks to become ordinary at Independence Day. But don t worry, they still had the pomp and parade thing down. Firing off canons and muskets during parades was initially a much more common means of celebration.
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