The fourth of July and fireworks go hand in hand in this country. But they’re pretty common on New Year’s and more and more at the end of major sporting events.

In Ireland, fireworks are set off on Halloween, but fireworks are heavily restricted there. Just having them would be the equivalent of a felony in this country. Punishment is a heavy fine and up to a five year jail term.

Two provinces in Canada also celebrate Halloween with fireworks – Nova Scotia and British Columbia.

In Japan – nearly everyday during the summer there’s some festival or event that feature very large fireworks displays – some of them attended by hundreds of thousands of people.

India has a festival of lights featuring fireworks during October and November.

China is the largest manufacturer of fireworks in the world. I guess it would make sense because that’s where they were invented more than 800 years ago.

New Castle, Pennsylvania in Lawrence County is considered the Fireworks Capital of America. It’s home to two of the largest fireworks manufacturers and display companies in this country – Zambelli Fireworks International and Pyrotechnica – companies that extend back to the mid 1800’s.

The Walt Disney Company is the largest consumer fireworks in the United States.

The largest annual fireworks display in this country is Thunder over Kentucky – the kickoff of the Kentucky Derby Festival.

The largest fireworks shell ever exploded is 48 inches in diameter. It weighs 926 pounds. It reaches an altitude of a half mile before it explodes and its umbrella is a half mile wide.

Here is the launch of the first one in Japan – from a distance first.

Then a little bit closer.