Remember, remember, the fifth of November.
Bonfire Night in the UK dates back to 1605 and commemorates when King James I escaped with his life after a group of 12 men, led by Guy Fawkes, attempted to blow up Britain’s Houses of Parliament. Ever since then, Brits have been celebrating the event with bonfires and fireworks across the UK.
Inspired by these celebrations, we’ve handpicked a selection of the world’s best firework and bonfire displays.
Festa del Redentore, Venice, Italy
Festa del Redentore is a festival that can be traced back to 1577, and celebrates the city’s deliverance from a terrible plague. It attracts thousands of people every year for its spectacular fireworks display. The fireworks start at 11:30 p.m. and last until well past midnight, lighting up the spires, domes and bell tower of the city with a kaleidoscope of reflections and colors. At dusk, numerous small boats decked out with bright lanterns and decorations begin to flock into the Giudecca Canal and St. Mark’s Basin. Be quick and grab a much-sought-after spot on one of the decorated balconies or gondolas. After the fireworks are over, head down to the Lido, with the crowds, to wait for the sunrise. The festival is held on the third weekend of July.
American Independence Day, New York City, United States
New York City comes to life on the Fourth of July with the legendary Macy’s Firework Display, which lights up the Hudson River in a frenzy of colors. With more than 40,000 different types of fireworks in the performance, this impressive event is one of the world’s longest running fireworks displays. This year marked a special collaboration between pop star Usher and the Macy’s pyrotechnic team, as the singer put his artistic stamp on the overall design of the spectacle. For the best views, head down to 12th Avenue below West 59th Street.
Omagari National Fireworks Competition, Omagari, Japan
Considered the best display in Japan, this competition is by invitation only and consists of 30 of the country’s best pyrotechnic artists launching self-made fireworks. Held every year on the fourth Saturday of August, the spectacle regularly draws more than 600,000 people.
New Year’s Eve, London, England
London attracts thousands of tourists with its impressive fireworks production every New Year’s Eve. When the clock strikes midnight, the city’s landmarks are lit up by the pyrotechnics. The first major display in London was to celebrate the year 2000, when an estimated 3 million people gathered around the Thames to take in the sights.
Bastille Day, Paris, France
French National Day (also known as Bastille Day) is celebrated on July 14 each year. The largest military parade in Europe proceeds down Paris’ famous boulevard, the Champs-Élysées, during the early hours of the morning, while the mesmerizing fireworks, launched from Bassins du Trocadéro, brighten up the evening sky. Marking a key date in the French Revolution, the event is a symbol of modern France.
Las Fallas, Valencia, Spain
A four-day spectacular pyrotechnic festival in March, Las Fallas culminates with a big and bright fireworks show. During the festival, the Fallas, or ninots, giant papier-mâché figures modeled after popular celebrities and politicians, can be seen on display throughout the city. They are then stuffed with fireworks and ceremoniously set alight. The festival is held in commemoration of Saint Joseph.
Bonfire Night, Lewes, England
Known as the bonfire capital of the world, the usually peaceful village of Lewes turns into a raucous parade for one night, unmatched across England. Six bonfire societies hold different events across town, while drum beats sound and flaming torches light the way. The town holds a strongly rooted tradition in the celebration of Guy Fawkes Night, with the first two bonfire societies having formed in 1853.
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