Do You Know The Names For The Different Types Of Fireworks?

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On Independence Day (July 4th), we “ooh” and “ahh” at the fireworks bursting in air, but did you know that different types of effects fireworks make have their own names?

What’s a peony firework?

The
peony
is one of the most common kinds of aerial
pyrotechnic
effects. It is named for a variety of plants with large, showy flowers.

Old Farmer’s Almanac

This firework display has a flower-like explosion (hence peony) that quickly turns into a swelling circle of color without any trailing—like a bright, explosive bouquet.

What’s a dahlia firework?

The
dahlia
is a variation on the peony, also taking its name from a flower, the dahlia, also beloved for its showy, variously colored flower heads. The dahlia firework explodes into larger stars that radiate out more than those of the peony.

What’s a chrysanthemum firework?

Take the peony and add a trailing effect to the stars, and you get the
chrysanthemum
firework. Yes, all the firework effects so far take their names from flowers, some of which have rich backstories themselves.

Ultimately from Greek, peony is related to
paean
, “a song of praise, joy, or triumph.” The dahlia was named for Swedish botanist Anders Dahl. Chrysanthemum comes from Greek roots meaning “golden flower.”

What is the diadem effect firework?

The
diadem
effect is a stunning variation on peonies or chrysanthemums. This firework contains a center of stars that briefly remains still, creating a freeze frame of celestial wonder.

Breaking from our botanical theme, diadem means “royal crown,” as many fans of Harry Potter know. (Ravenclaw represent.) The word also makes for an elegant verb, meaning “to adorn as with a crown,” e.g., On July 4th, Americans diademed the sky with patriotic displays.

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What is the kamuro firework?

Kamuro is Japanese word for a style of children’s haircut featuring short, untied hair. As a fireworks display, the kamuro creates a tight cluster of silver or gold stars, with attendant glittery, cloudy trails. Can you see how it might resemble an adorably shaggy hairdo?

What is the crossette firework?

And for our grand finale: A
crossette
is an aerial effect that spits stars outward. These stars travel a short distance before breaking into smaller stars and crisscrossing each other in a gridlike pattern, which resemble little crosses. Crossette is a diminutive form of the French crosse.

There are many more types of aerial effects, not to mention the vivid names of ground fireworks: poppers, snaps, parachutes, spinners, fountains, Roman candles, snakes, and 
strobes
. Plus, pyrotechnicians have a long list of jargon-y vocabulary, such as
hangfire
: “a delay in the detonation of gunpowder or other ammunition, caused by some defect in the fuze.”

Have fun, stay safe, and Happy Fourth!

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