A firework is a device containing gunpowder and other combustible chemicals that eject a colourful explosion when ignited. Typically they are used for celebrations, but can also be used as forms of distress signals.

There are several different types of fireworks for sale ranging from indoor fireworks (Category 1 Fireworks) to retail fireworks (Category 2 & 3 Fireworks) and professional display fireworks (Category 4 Fireworks). Professional fireworks however are not available to buy in shops and a special licence is needed to be in possession of such CAT. 4 fireworks as they are the most hazardous.

Chemical Composition of a Firework

Every single firework launched into the sky is precisely assembled with chemicals and fuel, carefully mixed to produce a particular effect - a purple chrysanthemum spray accompanied by a powerful explosion, or a green strobe, for example. Understanding how the contents of a firework produce their impressive assortment of colours and sound, requires only a simple understanding of chemical composition and reaction.

The colours are produced by heating metal salts, such as calcium chloride or sodium nitrate that emit various colours. The atoms within each element absorb the energy and release it as light of different colours. The energy absorbed rearranges its electrons from their lowest energy state up to their highest energy state which is known as an ‘excited state’. All of the excess energy is emitted as light and depending on the characteristic of the element, it will determine the colour produced for the firework when it ejects.

Firework Classification

Fireworks are separated into four different categories - Category 1, 2, 3 and 4. Usually you will find that Category 2 and Category 3 fireworks are the retail fireworks on sale to the general public in fireworks shops. Depending on the components of the firework and the safety distance that is required, a firework is then associated to its relevant designated category.

  • Category 1 Firework refers to indoor fireworks and those which pose a minimal hazard
  • Category 2 Fireworks are also known as garden fireworks. These require the shortest distance which is 5 metres. New laws however have coming into force which mean that you will see an increasing number of fireworks classified to new EU/EN standards and the safety distance will change to 8 metres
  • Category 3 fireworks are also known as display fireworks. This classification of firework requires the greatest distance which is 25 metres. However, there are changes being made in this category too and some products may come with a safety distance of 15 metres
  • Category 4 fireworks are those for professional use only. These include aerial shells and other items that are banned for sale to the general public

In years to come you will start to see fireworks which carry the CE Mark. This is because new legislation came into force in 2010. Fireworks already imported before this date are exempt from the new laws and can be sold until 2017.

Fireworks and Religious Events

Firework displays have become an essential way of showing the harmony and celebrating joyous occasions. Religious events and festivals are also associated with fireworks because they seem to go hand in hand. Some businesses have even started to manufacture fireworks particularly for religious events.

The main religious festivals that involve the use of fireworks are Chinese New Year, Christmas and Diwali in India. Chinese New Year is perhaps the most important day in China and for Chinese people around the world. While in the western world, the New Year does not have much religious significance, the Chinese tend to associate the dawn of a new year with the mythical beast ‘Nian’ which was scared away using firecrackers.

Diwali in India is another religious festival and is known as the ‘Festival of Lights’. The significance of this festival is that it commemorates the day on which Lord Krishna of the Hindu religion killed a demon who had been torturing the people. Fireworks are an essential component of this festival and you will find plenty of street side vendors with fireworks for sale. With the internet becoming popular, people also buy fireworks online and have even have them delivered direct to their home. Indoor fireworks such as Ice Fountain Sparklers are also becoming very popular too.

Christmas is yet another religious event that people celebrate with a firework display. Sparklers, Roman Candles and Single Ignition Display Units are some of the most commonly used firework products in these festivals. Wedding fireworks have also some religious significance and you will find that fireworks are used to celebrate these occasions too.

Fireworks and Music Events

Fireworks have become an ever increasing part of the music industry over the last decade. They have regularly featured in music videos and as special effects for live performances. The latest firework to hit the music scene is the Ice Fountain or Bottle Sparkler which is attached to alcoholic bottles in nightclubs as a way of bringing attention to the music artists. In the making of the - This Is Love music video over 600 Ice Fountains were used (supplied courtesy of YANELEX Ltd). This product has caught on with the general public too and has become a standard way of serving bottles at nightclubs, bars and restaurants around the world.

There is also a song called ‘Firework’ recorded by American artist Katy Perry - Firework . The song received positive feedback and shows just how much impact fireworks are having on this particular industry in modern times, not only as the subject of songs but also in the making of videos and live performance effects.

If you are looking for the Ice Fountain firework for a special event or celebration you can find them for sale on our website along with a video highlighting exactly what this firework does. Click Here to see the firework video.

Firework Events Around The World

Fireworks originated from China and they may be designed to burn with flames and sparks of various colours and firework effects. Fireworks displays are common throughout the world and are the focal point of many cultural and religious celebrations and can be appreciated no matter what walk of life you are from.

You can find fireworks displays throughout the year in many different countries celebrating many different cultural and religious events, some of the biggest and most renowned fireworks displays are listed below:

United Kingdom (UK) Fireworks Festivals

The biggest night for fireworks in Great Britain is Guy Fawkes Night held annually on the 5th November, while the biggest in Northern Ireland takes place on Halloween. Guy Fawkes Night is a celebration of the foiling of the infamous Gunpowder Plot of November 5th, 1605 where an attempt to blow up the houses of parliament and kill King James 1st took place.

There are a number of large fireworks displays and events held all over the UK for people to attend and watch professional fireworks displays with friends and family. Britain's Biggest Fireworks Events (as of October 30, 2008) are:

  • Stockton Riverside Fireworks, Stockton-on-Tees
  • Battle Fireworks, East Sussex
  • Hastings Fireworks, East Sussex
  • After Dark fireworks, Sheffield
  • Sparks in the Park (Cardiff Round Table charity fireworks), Cardiff
  • Flaming Tar Barrels, Ottery St Mary
  • Blackheath Fireworks, London
  • Fireworks with Vikings, Tutbury, Staffordshire
  • Bangers on the Beach (Holyhead Round Table charity fireworks), Holyhead
  • Bught Park fireworks, Inverness
  • Glasgow Green fireworks
  • Halloween Happening fireworks, Derry
  • Midsummer Common, Cambridge

United States (USA) Fireworks Celebrations

Fireworks and black ash were used to celebrate important events long before the American Revolution. The very first celebration of Independence Day was in 1777, six years before American’s knew whether the new nation would survive the war. Fireworks were a part of all festivities during such time. On New Year's Eve there are fireworks shows to signal the arrival of the New Year at the stroke of midnight like the famous ball drop in New York’s Times Square. The Walt Disney Company is the largest consumer of fireworks in the United States using pyrotechnics regularly in their Florida shows in particular. Currently, the largest annual fireworks display in North America is the ‘Thunder Over Louisville’ which kicks off the ‘Kentucky Derby Festival’. Every year, on the 4th of July, Pyrotechnic Innovations has a live webcam that shows a crew setting up a professional fireworks display. It gives a behind the scenes look at what goes into a large fireworks display.

Japanese Fireworks Festivals

During the summer in Japan, fireworks festivals are held almost every day somewhere in the country. It is estimated to be in excess of 200 different fireworks displays. The Japanese festivals consist of large firework shows and the largest is believed to attract more than 800,000 spectators. The festival is so popular, street vendors set up stalls to sell a variety of drinks and staple Japanese food. Till today, men and women attend these events wearing the traditional Yukata (summer Kimono) socialising with large circles of family and friends. The first fireworks festival in Japan was held in 1733.

Indian Fireworks Celebrations

Indians throughout the world celebrate their popular ‘festival of lights’ (known as Diwali) during October and November each year with fireworks. It is the festival of Hindu religion and quieter varieties of fireworks are more popular for this festival as it is a festival of light celebrated on the new moon night.

Philippines Fireworks Celebrations

There is an annual fireworks competition held in the Philippines which runs for five days called ‘The World Pyro Olympics’. Every day, two competitors from around the world will battle by setting up the grandest fireworks display they can. The host of the event does not participate in the competition but performs a fireworks display on the last night. There are a host of awards given out at the end of the exhibition, such as ‘The People’s Choice’ award. The winner of the World Pyro Olympics ends the event with another fireworks display.

Singapore Fireworks Celebrations

The Singapore Fireworks Celebrations (formally known as the Singapore Fireworks Festival) is an annual event based in Singapore as part of its National Day celebrations. The festival features local and foreign teams which launch displays on different nights although the festival is not currently of a competitive nature. The annual festival has grown quite dramatically over recent years.

Seoul International Fireworks Festival

Seoul International Firework Festival has been held every year since 2000. South Korea, United States, Japan and China took part in the festival in 2002 hoping to form a unity between the Korean people before the 2002 South Korea & Japan World Cup.

The Largest Fireworks Display Ever

A celebration of the Kuwait Constitutions 50th Anniversary (by Parente Fireworks) was recorded in the record books as the largest fireworks display in the world. It was documented that 77,282 firework projectiles were launched, becoming the largest in history. The display was part of celebrations held on the 10th November, 2012 on the coastal Gulf Road.