Light up the sky for holidays

In the United States, the Fourth of July is often celebrated by public displays of fireworks. Many other countries also celebrate special holidays with fireworks. These include Guy Fawkes Night in Britain, Victoria Day and Canada Day in Canada, the Festival of Lights in India, and saints' days in Malta. Many countries welcome the new year with elaborate fireworks displays.

Montreal has an annual summertime fireworks competition that lasts for weeks.

Although fireworks are popular around the world, no one really knows who invented fireworks, or exactly when.

One story is that they originated in China, possibly between AD 200 and 800. The Chinese may have roasted bamboo shoots to make them pop during new year's celebrations.

Later they probably filled the shoots with gunpowder and set them off. Marco Polo is said to have brought them from China to Europe. But we don't know for sure.

Early fireworks weren't multicolored, as most are today. Using chemicals to produce colors began in the 1830s.

Fireworks were used for celebrations in the 13 Colonies before the Revolution. But they became associated with Independence Day in 1777.

If you'd like to know how different types of fireworks work, see www.pyrouniverse.com/consumer/howtheywork.htm.

Remember that it's always important to be very careful around fireworks of any kind.

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