In the Eve of Chinese Spring Festival, the sparklers flit across the dark night, and the crackle renews the charm of spring. Every Chinese child raises the head and stand on tiptoe expecting the fireworks show.
The use of fireworks is centuries-old in China. The invention of fireworks is generally credited to the Chinese, which is a natural extension of the Four Great Inventions of ancient China of gunpowder. The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to some 2,000 years ago in China where they were first used to frighten away evil spirits with their loud sound and to pray for happiness and prosperity. From then on, almost any important events or festivals, like Spring Festival, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, National Day, marriage, and business opening, are the times when fireworks are guaranteed sights.
About 1,000 years ago, a Chinese named Li Tian, who lived near the city of Liu Yang in Hunan Province, is credited with the invention of firecrackers. The Chinese people celebrate the invention of the firecracker every April 18 by offering sacrifices to Li Tian. During the Song Dynasty, the local people established a temple to worship Li Tian.
Fireworks are generally classified as to where they perform, either as a ground or aerial firework. In the latter case they may provide their own propulsion (skyrocket) or be shot into the air by a mortar (aerial shell). The most common feature of fireworks is a paper or pasteboard tube or casing filled with the combustible material, often pyrotechnic stars. A number of these tubes or cases are often combined so as to make, when kindled, a great variety of sparkling shapes, often variously colored. The skyrocket is a common form of firework, although the first skyrockets were used in war. The aerial shell, however, is the backbone of today's commercial aerial display. Such rocket technology has also been used for the delivery of mail by rocket and is used as propulsion for most model rockets. In China, fireworks are given various poetic names to indicate good fortune and happiness.
To this day the Liu Yang region of Hunan Province remains the main production area in the world for fireworks, which is also the geographic origin of fireworks.
With the coming Spring Festival, enjoy the sense of wonder, excitement, and surprise brought by the blast of fireworks. As long as you are careful, this can be good family fun.