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What is so compelling about fireworks?

I’ll say it up front – I really dislike fireworks. Is it really that exciting to hear a bang and see that familiar umbrella of lighting effects? Maybe I might find them interesting if I had never seen a fireworks display in my life, but to me, the best ones all look about the same and the ones designed for home use are pretty sad indeed.

The seeds of my dislike of all things fireworks goes back to when I was living in the old casket factory at Niagara & Tecumseth here in Toronto. This was not a residential building. There were artists and musicians and a number of businesses occupying this old factory building. Many of the artists and musicians may or may not have been allegedly contravening the zoning by-laws by living in their studios. I was on the second floor, and right below me, there was a guy in the fireworks business. Whatever he did in there, some days, yellow smoke would seep up through the floor into my space. Fortunately, this was around the time when, on Christmas morning, my landlord slipped a rent increase notice under my door. How special was that? At the time, my father was experiencing various health issues and needed help at home, so I gave up that studio and went to live with my dad.

I’d like to know from folks who love fireworks and look forward to every opportunity to set them off, what exactly they enjoy about them? Is it the little explosions that are so compelling or the patterns of trailing light? Or maybe for you it’s a social thing? Maybe I’m missing something. We have scared dogs and cats in the house on those nights when fireworks are intense and I just wish they would stop.


  1. I’m with you. The animals can’t stand it, and I don’t think it’s a picnic for people with combat PTSD either. I’ve enjoyed seeing a good professional fireworks display from a distance — and I mean the 18th floor of an office tower across the river from the annual Fourth Of July show in DC, where I was once invited — but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it. Nothing that explodes or shoots sparks should be in someone’s back yard. I have a feeling that the big market for this stuff is people who enjoy being annoying.

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