Creative Commons

Fireworks, a fourth of July tradition occurs in the U.S. in every city across the nation during our independence celebration, but legend has it that the discovery of fireworks can be credited to a chinese cook over 2,ooo years ago. The story goes that after mixing charcoal, sulphur, and saltpeter in an enclosure, it exploded. Later during the Han Dynasty between 206 and 220 BC the people would roast bamboo that exploded with a loud sound. This sound would ward off ghost and evil spirits. Later around 420AD the Northern and Southern Dynasties used the practice of exploding bamboo sticks to pray for joy and prosperity. During the Tang Dynasty, a monk named Li Tian was known for the invention of the firecracker. After his Emperor's Prime Minister had claim to be haunted by the ghost of a dragon he had killed, Li Tian exploded a bamboo tube that scared off the apparition. Every April 18th, the Chinese celebrate this inventions by offering up sacrifices to Li Tian. Still other say it originated in India, however the Hindu credit the chinese with the invention of gunpowder.

Marco Polo has been given credit for bringing the black powder back to Europe, however, some believe that is was brought via the crusaders. Descriptions of flash powder and the use of Roman Candles where mentioned before his return to Venice in 1299. In any case, it's popularity spread throughout Europe. Once in Europe it was used mainly used for military purposes. The Italians were the first to use it for making fireworks followed by Germany who became a leader in the manufacture of fireworks. It was favored by Queen Elizabeth I, as well as, King James II. It was used in his cornation and they would use it to celebrate birthdays.

The first time that fireworks were used in the 4th of July celebration was actually on July 8th, 1776. This was the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia's Independence Square. Historians believed that this display of fireworks was used to mock their separation from England. In a letter that John Adams had written to his wife Abigail he illustrated how he felt the 4th of July should be celebrated when he stated, "It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more". The next official utilization of fireworks was on July 4th, 1777. It was complete with the firing of cannons, bonfires, and illuminations. Other states adopted this practice, and today fireworks, a fourth of July tradition lights up every city in the United States during the celebration of this special holiday.