Bonfire Night 2018: Fantastic things you never knew about fireworks

Last updated at 07:29
Fireworks displayAFP

It's almost Bonfire Night, and that means firework displays, tasty food and toasty bonfires.

The tradition of Bonfire Night dates back to 1605, when Guy (Guido) Fawkes was part of something called the Gunpowder Plot. This was a plan to blow up King James I and his government on 5 November.

However Guy's plot was rumbled, and he and his supporters were arrested and executed.

These days we remember the event by setting off fireworks and lighting bonfires to burn the 'Guy' - a kind of dummy figure that represents Fawkes.

Here at Newsround we've got some top firework facts to share this Bonfire Night!

Fireworks in CHinaAFP/Getty
Not during the War!

During World War I and World War II, no one was allowed to set off fireworks or light bonfires.

This was part of an act of parliament in 1914 called The Defence of the Realm Act, which aimed to protect people during the war by not showing the enemy where they were.

But, up until 1959, it was illegal NOT to celebrate Bonfire Night in Britain, so during this time people celebrated the event indoors.

What are you doing on Bonfire Night?

Tell us what you're doing to mark the occasion, and send us your Bonfire Night photos.

Here's some tips for taking really good firework photos on your mobile phone.

You must ask your parent, teacher or guardian for permission before you send us a photo.

We may show your pictures on our website or in our TV bulletins. We'll show your first name and which town you're from - but we won't use your details for anything else.

Take your photo like this

If you cannot see the interactive activity on this page, click here.

Super sparkler science

Sparklers are often found at Bonfire Night parties, but they can get incredibly hot!

Some sparklers can reach temperatures of 1000-1600 Celsius - that's around 15 times hotter than the boiling point of water!

Firework rockets can reach speeds of 150 miles per hour (mph) when they are set off.

The reason why you can see a firework explode before you can hear the bang, is because light travels much faster than sound.

Sound travels at a speed of 761 mph, but light travels at a whopping 671,000,000 mph - so you may see it before you hear it!

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WATCH: How are fireworks made?
When were fireworks first discovered?

Thousands of years ago, a group of Chinese scientists accidently mixed together chemicals to make an early form of gunpowder.

This was stuffed into old bamboo stalks and thrown into a fire to make a loud bang.

These were thought to be the first fireworks.

The Chinese then used this invention to scare away their enemies and evil spirits.

In the 1830s, Italian inventors invented a special casing which let them fire fireworks into the air.

They also came up with ways to mix in different metallic powders to create different coloured explosions.

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WATCH: Your top tips on how to stay safe on Bonfire Night
First UK firework display

The very first fireworks display in England took place at Henry VII's wedding to Elizabeth of York in 1486.

The wedding was a pretty big deal because Henry and Elizabeth came from two families - the Lancasters and the Yorks - who had been fighting for many years.

When the two married, it brought peace to the two houses and stopped the fighting.

Another royal who loved fireworks was Queen Elizabeth I, who even created an honorary title - "Fire Master of England" - for the person who created the best fireworks.

Biggest firework displays

This incredible explosion was created in Konosu in Japan in 2014, and smashed the records for using the world's heaviest firework.

Weighing in at a staggering 460kg - that's about the same weight as a fully grown polar bear! - the firework created a beautiful rosette of light which was 800 metres across.

The title for the most fireworks used in a single display goes to the Norwegians who used a whopping 540,382 fireworks!

The firework display lasted for one and a half hours.

15,272 fireworks weren't counted though because they didn't light.


This entry is now closed for comments.

  • View all (42)
  • Comment number 42. Posted by UnicornHettyFeatherFan

    15 Nov 2018 18:14
    I’m the fountain! Like if you got the same!
  • Comment number 41. Posted by Kittycorn Potter

    8 Nov 2018 17:11
    Catherine Wheel!

  • Comment number 40. Posted by pusheen

    6 Nov 2018 18:52
    chrysanthemum. my school had fireworks-so pretty!
  • Comment number 39. Posted by CandycaneChocolatePops

    6 Nov 2018 18:41
    You found clue 2!

    CLUE 3:
    Aww, furry cute pets!
    Saturday mash up!
  • Comment number 38. Posted by happytrampoliningchocolatewaffle

    5 Nov 2018 19:36
  • Comment number 37. Posted by HotFudgeSwirl

    5 Nov 2018 18:36
    Of all the fireworks you are the most calming and reliable member of the group. You're grounded and don't need to make a lot of noise to know that you light up the room.

    I am not a big fan of fireworks because they at loudb bit I enjoy looking at them since they are pretty☺☺
  • Comment number 36. Posted by U17253859

    5 Nov 2018 17:26
    i'm a catherin weal#my faves!!!!!
  • Comment number 35. Posted by U17224985

    5 Nov 2018 17:09
    Of all the fireworks you are the most calming and reliable member of the group. You're grounded and don't need to make a lot of noise to know that you light up the room.
  • Comment number 34. Posted by U17204393

    4 Nov 2018 18:49
    I am Chrysanthemum according to this quiz! Saw one at a party last night. It was beautiful, super happy with the outcome!
  • Comment number 33. Posted by Green CrystalKitten

    4 Nov 2018 17:34
    I’m the strobe, apparently, but I don’t think the test got it right!