Who Were the First to See Fireworks

In this day and age, fireworks can be seen on display during celebrations, national holidays and at ILLUMINATING festivals such as GlobalFest! But were fireworks always this accessible? Who was the first to see them? And which countries made them what they are today?

In the beginning, fireworks were gunpowder packed into bamboo shoots and thrown into fire but eventually, they evolved into so much more! Soon after, the Chinese developed paper tubing and paper fuses for easier ignition. This super innovative technology was soon picked up by Italian explorer Marco Polo while he was traveling through Asia. He then brought fireworks to Europe in the year 1295.

Fireworks began to explode all over the world! In ancient China, fireworks were used for visits from the Chinese emperor. While in medieval England, jesters would use them to amuse crowds of people. Royalty in different countries also began to use fireworks, and their displays were grand! The first royal display was thought to be Henry VII’s wedding day in 1486.


How Fireworks Became Spectacular

It wasn’t until around 1486 that fireworks were brought to England, but when they did, they took off!  They became so popular that Queen Elizabeth I invented the title “Fire Master of England” – what a title to have! These Fire Masters also had assistants called “Green Men” because of the leaves they wore all over their bodies to protect themselves from sparks; they would also tell jokes to entertain the crowds until the real show started. A popular firework design that was created around this time was called “The Dragon” (a pretty epic name, we know) – it was a big wooden structure filled with rockets, that when lit, looked like it was breathing fire!

Later on, pyrotechnic training schools were opened for those interested in becoming pyro-artists where they could experiment and master their pyro-skills. The pyrotechnic training schools were very popular in Italy and when the Italians got a hold of fireworks that’s when things started to get really flamboyant! People in Italy started experimenting with adding metals to the explosives resulting in spectacular colours. Luckily for us when the Italians immigrated to the Americas in the 1870s they brought their recipes with them!




How Different Cultures Celebrate With Fireworks

After the love of fireworks spread across the globe, cultures everywhere took a piece and made it their own. Some used fireworks in the name of religion, to honour gods or to celebrate their religion. In Malta, they use fireworks to celebrate elections, birthdays and other festivities throughout the year, while in North Korea fireworks are used only for religious purposes.

Others use fireworks in attractions and festivals like GlobalFest! All around the world people travel to see firework festivals. In Japan, they have over 200 firework festivals in the month of August! Cannes, France is home to the Cannes Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique where, like GlobalFest, culture, and fireworks beautifully collide.