Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 4th Fireworks - Begins with the Chinese

One of the first things you think about when thinking of the 4th of July is fireworks. Fireworks have been a longstanding tradition used to celebrate the independence of our country, but they have their importance in other countries as well. Did you know the chinese were actually some of the first to produce and use fireworks? In the Han Dynasty (206-220 BC) it is said that bamboo would be roasted to produce a loud sound used to scare away ghosts and other evils. In the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-581 AD) these sounds were also used to pray for happiness and prosperity. At the end of the Northern Song Dynasty the first paper tube crackers, filled with gun powder, were created. 

The export of fireworks began with Paozhuang, a private trading company, in the mid 1800s. Today, there are five bases of firework production existing in China: Liuyan, Beihai, Pingxaing, Jianghu, and Donguan. There are few countries throughout the world that do not import chinese fireworks. Like their ancestors, people in China today set off fireworks to express happiness and peace. Fireworks play a significant role in festivals and holidays such as Chinese Lunar New Year and China National Day. They are also used for other occasions such as weddings and birthdays. 
So next time you think of fireworks, think of China and the traditions fireworks have deeply rooted 
within chinese culture! 

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