Category Archives: Fireworks Festival

MALTA MECHANIZED GROUND FIREWORKS FESTIVAL

WHAT: MALTA MECHANIZED GROUND FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
WHEN: SATURDAY 9TH APRIL 2016 (SETUP OF THE DISPLAY ON FRIDAY 8TH APRIL 2016)
WHERE: THE GRANARIES, ST PUBLIUS SQUARE, MALTA
WHY: MECHANICAL FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
COST: FREE 🙂

The mechanized ground fireworks festival has been an important part of the Fiesta celebrations to be held in Malta.

The competition between the factories has always been fierce and it is a matter of intense pride to win the award for your own factory resulting in the competitors striving for excellence every time.

Nar ta' l-Art, Floriana.

The setting up of the Fest Ta Nar (fire festival) takes the majority of the day to complete as in addition to the usual set up of the fireworks there is a great deal more intricate and complicated parts to ensure are in working order and are connected to the relevant effect. The maximum dimension of the wheel must be no more than 30 feet across. They are a complex fusion of levels, gears, wheels, chains and links resulting in 3D movement with the ability to open and close, rotate and move forth and back too with added pyrotechnics.

The Firework factories included in this year’s event are as follows:

St Margaret’s Firework Association
15th August Fireworks Association
Our Lady of Nativity Fireworks Association
Fontana Fireworks Association
St Paul’s Fireworks Complex
St Josephs Firework Complex
22 February Fireworks Association
Mount Carmel Factory
St Catherine’s Pyrotechnic Association
St Bartholomew’s Fireworks Association
St Leonard’s Firework Factory
15th August Fireworks Factory

There are 30 firework companies on the Island and pyro remains at the very heart of the people of Malta and have been since the very early part of the 11th century when they were intrinsic to celebrations. For the most part there would have used cannon and musket fire and the sound of the explosion of crackers in quick succession as an expression of joy/celebration and over the years this grew into an event which now include the ‘Malta International Firework Festival‘, a competition which takes place each Saturday including 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th April 2016 in a number of locations across the Island.

Here is a taster of some of last year’s examples of engineering and pyrotechnics coming together to create beautiful effects.

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THE WORLDS MOST DANGEROUS FIREWORK FESTIVAL

WHAT: THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS FIREWORK FESTIVAL
WHY: PYROTECHNIC BASED CELEBRATION
WHEN: SUNDAY 21st FEBRUARY AND MONDAY 22nd FEBRUARY 2016
WHERE: YANSHUI DISTRICT, TAINAN, TAIWAN

As amble along in the Yanshui district of Tainan, in South-west Taiwan, on the 21st or 22nd of February this year, you may be forgiven for thinking you have somehow been transported to a distant planet, as strangely dressed people mill around. They are wearing everything from homemade space helmets, tin hats and motorcycle headgear throng around covered from head to foot in a mish-mash of protective clothing, scavenged from junkyards or thrift shops, thick gloves and fire-retardant scarves hiding the faces of the adrenalin filled well wishes.

2013 Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival 鹽水蜂炮

A raucous group of horn players strike up as statues of the Chinese god of war Guan Gong carried along in sedan chairs make their way through the crowds, behind the excited onlookers stand the “Bee hives”, standing four metres in height they are then wheeled into position. The bee hives, made entirely from pine, are actually launching stations for small rockets. Densely packed, some contain up to 600,000 tightly wound cardboard tubes with small directional sticks attached filled with black powder they whiz and dart around the crowds – being hit by one of these will, it is believed, bring you good luck.

Last year the two most popular bee hives built by Shen-Chi Chung and his family were modelled on the animated character; SpongeBob SquarePants and a huge pirate ship over eight metres in height, boasting around 45,000 rockets incorporated into the designs.

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Costing around £12,000 each and taking around a month to build there are certain rules that have to be followed, the most important of which is that any woman may work on the structures as long as they are not pregnant, and any men wanting to participate must pray to Guan Gong three years in a row before they are allowed to assist with the building of the bee hives.

The grand finale sees three huge structures the first two contain 400,000 rockets each the final larger assembly will launch 600,000 rockets.

The first night is more of a local affair where the second night is mainly for the tourists, visiting officials and those not wearing protective clothing have the option to stand behind a 20 x 50 metre wire mesh screen.

The festival started in the late 19th century to combat cholera and the plague, Yanshui at the time was a very important port due to its location on the then busy canal system, the diseases had ravaged the area for two decades until a shaman summoned the god Guan Gong to dispel the evil, the deity agreed to attend as long as there was fireworks, in reality the sulphur from the fireworks killed the cholera’s bacteria the loud noise scared away the rats carrying the plague saving the city.

The Festival Director; Lin Yi-Ren, remembers back when as a child they used to hold the rocket sticks, letting them blast off from their fingertips and run around without any protection at all.

Although Taiwan recently suffered an earthquake of 6.4 which stuck 17 miles north of Pingtung City, the festivals organisers say it will still go ahead.

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Malta International Fireworks Festival 2016

WHAT: Malta International Fireworks Festival 2016
WHY: To celebrate Malta’s accession into the European Union
WHEN: Saturday 16th April, Saturday 23rd April and Saturday 30th April 2016
WHERE: The beautiful island of Malta
COST: Free of charge for anyone and everyone

This year marks the 15th edition of this fabulous fireworks festival and it continues to go from strength to strength. This tiny island is a hugely popular holiday destination for sun and history lovers alike.

Malta is a devoutly Catholic island and the religion plays a major part in daily life. The majority of festivals are based upon religious iconography and during the daytime on any of the feasts and saints days held annually, there will be parades and Catholic masses abound during the daytime to honour the local parishes patron saint and the evening is given over to marching bands, food, drink and of course FIREWORKS.

Whilst at the moment only one of the current venues has been announced (the last one, Saturday 30th April, will be held in Valetta, Grand Harbour ).

Fireworks have been part and parcel of the way of life in Malta since the time of the Order of the Knights of St John, whose members used to celebrate special religious feasts with pyrotechnics for example when a new Grand Master (the leader of the islands church), a new Pope is elected or indeed a new Prince is born to one of the ruling families of Europe.

Malta’s history is long and there is evidence of many changes to the rule of the Island from the early settlers arriving in 5200BC who were Stone-age farmers and hunters through the centuries being ruled by the Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Muslims, Normans, Spanish and eventually British rule following the signing of the treaty of Paris in 1814 until they gained independence on 21st September 1964 – Not bad at all, only 7000 years to eventually gain freedom!

The island shows evidence of its military combat and is still home to two HUGE Armstrong 100 ton guns (cannons) which were used in defence of the Island for more than 20 years in the late 19th century.

Of course, for the ‘pyro widows’ there is lots to see and do and if you are an adrenalin junkie, you can take part in water-sports, climbing and abseiling, paintball or even horse riding. If on the other hand, you would prefer relaxing and taking a swim, get along to St Peters Pool just outside of Marsaxlokk; a natural pool with beautiful azure waters and flat rocks.

So, if you are holidaying in Malta in mid to late April, get along to watch some world class international pyrotechnics.

Malta barge 3

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