Are you a fan of fireworks? Imagine all those fireworks sparkling in the sky – oh, look at the red one! And check out that blue one! The culmination of long summer nights for some, while a Proust madeleine for others – fireworks are a source of wonder and magic, regardless of your age. From Rio to Vancouver and Sydney to Spain, fireworks are known to bring people from different cities and villages under one colorful banner.
Fireworks have a long tradition, dating back to a time when warding off evil spirits and battling enemies were top priorities. Indeed, humanity’s first firecracker went off in 200 BC, and it was the product of children’s endless creativity… using a simple bamboo stalk. As used in modern-day fireworks, Powder did not see the light of day until the 9th century AD due to adults being a little slower at displaying their talents. There is only a powder trail between the rumbling and destructive war that marked its first and strong use and our most spectacular Olympic Games, national holidays, and family gatherings.
Each fireworks festival is creative and more professional than the other, giving so many beautiful memories to make. We have come up with a list of some of the best firework festivals worldwide; let’s take a look!
01 – New Year’s Eve
Sydney Harbour, Australia
One of the best ways to ring in the new year is to be on a cruise with friends, sipping a cold beer, and enjoying the beautiful fireworks festival. It’s difficult to argue with one of the world’s most famous landmarks, some spectacularly grand fireworks over the Sydney Harbour Bridge complex, and the pleasant Aussie atmosphere. If you are unable to commandeer a ferry, there are numerous locations in Sydney that provide spectacular views of the fireworks.
Events occur in Sydney at all hours of the day, night, and even early hours of dawn.
02 – Festa del Redentore
Another popular firework festival is the Festa del Redentore which takes place in Venice on the third weekend of July. The Redentore feasts started as thanks to commemorating the end of the devastating plague of 1576, which killed an estimated 50,000 people. Suppose you manage to have a seat on one of the gondolas or decorated balconies in St Mark’s Basin. In that case, you will definitely love the spectacular view of the fireworks show, which lasts between 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Once the event has ended, you can join the crowd to go to the city of Lido and witness the beautiful sunrise. After having a long, unforgettable night – you can experience the avail the opportunity of having one of the best Venetian regattas of the year Sunday afternoon.
03 – Omagari National Fireworks Competition
With all the delicacy and poetry, the Land of the Rising Sun is renowned for having some of the best fireworks festivals, domestically called “hanabi,” meaning “fire flowers.” In summer, the fireworks season is at its peak, and you can witness some of the greatest cultural activities and fireworks performances. Here’s a look at some of the most impressive exhibits.
The Omagari National Fireworks Competition is one of the best fireworks festivals in Japan. Since it is a country that has immense love for people with pyrotechnics, this is a mesmerizing and stunning festival as you would imagine. The event takes place on the fourth Saturday of August, which involves only the 30 best firework artists of Japan. The fireworks festival is held on the dry bed of the Omono-gawa River in Omagari, Akita Prefecture. There are not only the widely awaited evening shows, but also daytime performances that are worth witnessing.
Another popular event is the Fukuroi Enshu Fireworks that takes place in the middle of South of Tokyo in Mid-August. It is well-known among amateurs for putting together the best fireworks experts in Japan. Put on your Sunday best and make a reservation to enjoy the best part of the Bon Festival between 7 and 9 p.m. You will witness the launch of 25,000 different types of fireworks to music, which will leave you in awe.
The Sumidagawa fireworks festival dates from the Edo period (1603-1868). In a time of drought and plague, the locals had a tradition of firing fireworks as a tribute to the God of Water to calm the souls of those who had passed away. These days, the traditional festival pits the best professionals against each other in a display where they are granted complete creative freedom in the Japanese capital. Since it is a Summer festival, it takes place on the last Saturday of July.
04 – Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night)
Every year on the 5th of November, Britain is set ablaze in commemoration of a failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605. Across the country, bonfires with a burning effigy of Guy Fawkes, the man associated with the Gunpowder Plot, are lit. Although you can experience fantastic fireworks events in Inverness, Cardiff, and Derry, Blackheath in London is where it all began and hosts the most awaited show every year.
If you enjoy the fire with crackers, the men of Ottery St Mary in Devon roll burning barrels of tar through the streets, and a torchlit parade of ghastly ghouls and historical figures can be seen in Battle, East Sussex. On the other hand, if you love a flair for the theatrical, Tutbury Castle Staffordshire is where you must go to enjoy the Guy Fawkes story.
05 – Las Fallas
Las Fallas is an outstanding pyrotechnic show with a lot of fire, as the name suggests. The event takes place in Valencia, lasting for four days, from the 15th of March to the 19th of March. The city offers stunning fireworks displays throughout the week, the final evening offers the largest and brightest views, and it is not to be missed. The Fallas or ninots, giant papier-mâché figures modelled after politicians and celebrities, are on display in the city during the festival. They are then packed with fireworks and set off ceremonially. The fireworks show is held in honor of Saint Joseph, and you can enjoy several activities across the city apart from watching the fireworks.
San Sebastian, in the Spanish Basque Country, has hosted the oldest Western fireworks competition since 1964. International pyrotechnic companies launch fireworks every night over La Concha Bay from the Alderdi Eder Gardens during the Semana Grande, which takes place around the 15th of August and honors the Virgin Mary. This is a must-attend European experience for anyone who loves pintxos and a little Spanish sass.
06 – American Independence Day
New York, US
The United nation celebrates its Independence Day on the 4th of July, and that too, in style. You can witness astonishing fireworks displays in every state of America. Although the competition is tough every year, most people agree that Macy’s Firework is the best event that occurs in New York. You can enjoy watching the fireworks show across the Hudson River from multiple spots across the city. The view is as thrilling as the name suggests, featuring more than 40,000 different forms of fireworks. The extravaganza is worth a look with its sheer scale. It is also one of the world’s longest-running fireworks shows that always pleases people across the country.
07 – Bastille Day
Commonly known as Bastille Day, it is the national day of France that takes place on every 14th of July. Whether you are an early riser or not, you would wake up early morning to witness the largest military parade in Europe, marching down Paris’ Champs-Élysées in the morning. Not only that, the dazzling fireworks light up the Eiffel Tower in the evening to give a beautiful view.
The event commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which has come to symbolize the French Revolution and the birth of the modern country.
08 – The Malta International Fireworks Festival
Saying that the fireworks festival held in Malta is considered a nation’s pride wouldn’t be wrong. You can hear the cracking and banging every day throughout between April and November. Even though pyrotechnics is rarely considered a professional on this small Mediterranean island, the Maltese are passionate about it and very good at it.
The international competition, which takes place in late April, brings together the best pyrotechnicians across the world. Canadian, Australian, Venezuelan, Italian, Spanish, Austrian, Portuguese, and Britishers are the most common competitors of the festival. For a truly spectacular display, the finalists launch their fireworks from small boats in the harbor of Valetta, Malta’s capital.
If you can stay a little longer in the country, you can also witness the amazing Catherine Wheel Contest that is held in early May every year. It is an unpopular and unusual festival, which sees various groups build and illuminate a Maltese wheel. This event is especially popular in Malta. These wheels are named after Saint Catherine of Alexandria, who was sentenced to death on a torture wheel. These wheels have a diameter of 30 meters and are used to build a roaring and hypnotizing fire wheel. What an incredible display it must be!
09 – The Celebration of Light
When we are the word ‘Canada,’ we usually think of frozen lakes, log cabins, harsh winters, and breath-taking landscapes. But this is not it; it also features a dizzying array of pyrotechnic activities that shed light on the country that has been voted the best quality of life in the world for many years running!
Canada has some of the most famous fireworks festivals globally, such as the Celebration of Light. The Vancouver fireworks festival includes three foreign teams battle for the title of most beautiful 25-minute fireworks show over three days. People come from different cities to experience this beautiful event that takes place in late July or early August.
Another awesome event is the GlobalFest that celebrates diversity and fostering respect and equality within local communities. Thousands of people attend the Human Rights and Youth forums, as well as the festival’s numerous cultural pavilions, performances, and foreign food stalls. The show-stopper is a fierce competition between five foreign pyrotechnic teams to produce the year’s most beautiful fireworks display set to traditional music from their home countries.
Another renowned festival takes place in the east of Canada, L’International des Feux Loto-Quebec (also called the Montreal fireworks festival). It is said to be one of the largest fireworks competitions worldwide, which is attended by three million people each year. The event is displayed from June to August, organized by some of the finest fireworks designers in the world. You wouldn’t want to miss it for anything!
10 – New Year’s Eve
When it comes to the New Year’s celebrations in Dubai, it is a lot more than just fireworks. Sure, watching these pyrotechnic marvels explode around the city is amazing, but combine that with LED lights and laser beam shows, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic evening. The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, takes center stage as thousands of people assemble under a canopy of light, the mesmerizing show leaves people in awe of it. In fact, several people from around the world plan their trips to Dubai to witness one of the most amazing New Year’s festivals.
11 – The International Pyromusical Competition
Until 2010, the World Pyro Olympics were held on the other side of the world, in Manilla. The best pyrotechnicians from across the world competed in a five-day competition to see who could have the best skillset and techniques. Until the final, two teams competed against each other on a regular basis. The title was won by Australia, Italy and the United Kingdom were forced to change their name because the host country remained the same, which is against Olympic rules. And that is how the Philippine International Pyromusical Competition came into existence. The competition itself remains the same, with a fantastic six-week competition that takes place from February to March.