Fireworks - how it all began...
It is generally believed that the monk Berthold Schwarz invented gunpowder. But even in ancient China, colorful fireworks were enjoyed. It is assumed that this art came from China via the Near East to Greece and Italy and finally to Europe.
The term “pyrotechnics” that is used a lot these days comes from the Greek word for fire, “pyros”, godfather. The use of “pitch & brimstone” has been handed down since the 5th century. Black powder was probably invented by the Chinese around 1200 AD and rediscovered in Europe around 1400 AD. In the 14th century, people learned how to amplify the flames of a burning pile of wood using swarmers and rockets.
History of pyrotechnics
In Italy, the custom of organizing magnificent artificial fireworks then arose. This also became more and more popular at German princely courts. Secular and spiritual rulers competed for the most magnificent spectacle of colors. Painters, sculptors and architects were commissioned to carry it out. Her goal was to skilfully incorporate the backdrops of palaces and castles, towers and bridges into the scenery.
Many composers felt inspired by the fire artworks, e.g. B. Georg Friedrich Handel for his well-known fireworks music. Over the course of the centuries, the early pyrotechnicians developed the small firework items from the giant courtly fireworks, which are now indispensable as social New Year’s entertainment.
While fireworks on New Year’s Eve have become a fixed custom in Germany, fireworks are shot in other countries on various public holidays and occasions.
In southern Europe, the Easter celebrations are “ignited”, in China the New Year is the occasion for a wonderful fire spectacle, in Great Britain the “Guy Fawkes Day” on November 5th is taken as an opportunity to organize fireworks, while the French every year for the Celebrate the “Storming of the Bastille” with rockets, firecrackers and fountains on July 14th. In Switzerland, on August 1st, the Swiss national holiday is “fired up” and in the USA, “Independence Day” is duly celebrated on July 4th and crowned with a corresponding fireworks display.
No matter where in the world people have an occasion:
Celebrating with fireworks is always a celebration!
Historical illustrations from the NICO archive
Courtesy of the Pyrotechnic Industry Association.