why do we have fireworks on the 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 some historians have suggested that India first invented fireworks, modern fireworks seem to have come to the West by way of China. Most early fireworks were simply repurposed military munitions, fired for entertainment rather than to frighten or kill the enemy.


In the 12 century, the Chinese improved the burning fire arrow (a long-established weapon) by affixing small packs of gunpowder to it. From there it was not long before they invented rockets, simply stuffing a container with gunpowder and leaving a hole in one end for propulsion. These as they were called, were wildly unpredictable, however, and while this made them less effective, it did contribute to their entertainment value. These rockets made their palace hall debut when emperor Li Tsung brought them before the empress Kung Sheng, but when one scurried up to her, she gathered up her skirts and brought the feast to a halt.


During the Renaissance, fireworks became popular in Europe and were used in nationalist and imperialist celebrations by figures like Peter the Great and Louis XIV, who were especially big fans of the pyrotechnics. Tradition alone, of course, does not explain the here and abroad. As with many festive decorations, including streamers, confetti, festival lights, and, people often appreciate them simply for their bright colors.


Others may appreciate the technical ingenuity and the that goes into the show. And others just like dramatic loud noises, the sense of destruction, and the thrill of danger. Over time, fireworks shows can bring back memories of other festive occasions and warm summer nights. On the other hand, there are the occasional. Got a question about today s news?