It’s that time of year again – the day of winter thermals, wellies, fairground rides, food truck burgers and of course: SPARKLERS. Yup, you guessed it: it’s Bonfire Night. And in order to pay homage to this historic Guy Fawkes event – and the kaleidoscopic explosions that go with it – we’ve scoured the globe to pick out the best firework displays out there. So, without further ado:
New Year’s Eve, Sydney, Australia
Sydney Harbour is undoubtedly one of the best places on the planet to ring in the new year. The atmosphere is absolutely electric, with more than 1.5 million revellers arriving early in the morning of the 31st December, so you’ll need to get there early to bag one of the best spots – ideally looking across to the Harbour Bridge. Celebrations kick off at 6pm with music and fly pasts, then the harbour’s ships light up before a massive firework extravaganza at midnight.
Montreal International Fireworks Competition, Canada
The month-long L’International des Feux Loto-Québec, held in July, is the largest fireworks competition in the world. Pyrotechnic companies from all over will fire their best rockets, cakes and candles, all choreographed to music, in a bid to win the coveted Gold Jupiter trophy. You can join around three million spectators in the best vantage points (ticket fee applies), or, for free viewing, it’s just as easy to find a patch of grass (try Mount Royal Park) or a spot along the Saint Lawrence River.
Thunder Over Louisville, USA
This spectacular air show and fireworks spectacle is North America’s largest annual fireworks display. Starting out as a pre-event to launch the annual Kentucky Derby in early May, it boasts over 650,000 spectators, vastly eclipsing the attendance of the derby itself.
Independence Day, New York, USA
Fourth of July is a big deal in New York City – thoroughly patriotic and dazzling fireworks illuminate the skyline with flashes of red, white and blue erupting above the Statue of Liberty and Coney Island. The best way to enjoy it? Grab a pint in one of the city’s many rooftop bars – try Berry Park in Brooklyn which offers plenty of decking space and a selection of German and Belgian brews on tap.
New Year’s Eve, Dubai, UAE
Dubai’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are about so much more thank fireworks. Sure, seeing these pyrotechnic wonders erupt all over the city is impressive, but coupled with LED lights and laser beam displays and you’ve got yourself one hell of a spectacular show. The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, takes centre stage as thousands gather, united in absolute awestruckness beneath a canopy of light.
Celebration of Light, Vancouver, Canada
If rousing music and ear-splitting bangs are your thing, then Vancouver’s Celebration of Light will tick all the boxes. Attracting 1.4 million firework fanatics to the waterfront every year, it’s one of the city’s biggest events and comprises of three 25-minute displays on three different days in July.
This Hindu ‘Festival of Lights’ unsurprisingly features lamps, candles and fireworks rather heavily. Most Indian cities will be celebrating, but for something extra-special try Varanasi or Chennai, pictured above, where large scale celebrations include sparklers, firecrackers and lots of food.
The Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Olympics opening and closing ceremonies historically feature abundant fireworks, so get yourself to Rio for the 31st Summer Olympic Games, which kick off at the Maracanã Stadium on 5th August 2016.
Katakai Fireworks Festival, Niigata, Japan
Like your fireworks historic? Well swing by Niigata in September and you’ll be in the right place. Running for over 400 years, Katakai is the oldest of the festivals on this list and even holds the Guinness World Record for launching the world’s biggest (and maybe most expensive at US$1,500!) firework: the yonshakudama. A gargantuan rocket, it was over 1.2 metres wide and shot 2,700 feet into the air, exploding with a diameter of nearly 800 metres.