How to Organise a Traditional English Fireworks Display

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A fireworks display.

How to organise a Traditional English Fireworks Display

In the UK there is apparently a set of rules which you should follow when setting off fireworks, especially if you want to retain all of your limbs for future use or if you are allergic to third-degree burns. However, there are those who choose to follow a different set of rules in order to maintain the time-honoured tradition of a classic English fireworks display. It is quite easy1 to learn from their mistakes, and so I invite you to study the guidelines for a traditional English fireworks display.


You will need:

  • Fireworks — quite obvious, really. They should be as big and noisy as possible, with names like 'Terminator' and 'Earth Destroyer'.
  • A bonfire — it is best not to build it ahead of time otherwise it will become damp and creatures will start to live in it.
  • A blowtorch — in case you can't light something with a match.
  • Safety equipment — the traditional fireworks display usually involves minimal safety equipment.
  • Spectators — there is little point in making a lot of noise unless you subject your family and friends to it as well as the entire neighbourhood.

The 'Rules'

  1. Never, ever, ever look at the instructions on the fireworks. Or if you do, use a naked flame to read them and then ignore them anyway. After all, how difficult can lighting a firework be?

  2. Allow the rain to soak the fireworks through. They'll go off anyway, won't they? If they don't, just throw them on the bonfire to warm them up a little.

  3. When setting up a Roman candle, don't waste any time making sure it's properly set up. If it falls over, then you can easily outrun the flaming red and green fireballs that it will shoot straight towards you.

  4. Nail the catherine wheel into a rotting piece of wood, then stand facing its front so that if it comes loose, it won't hit you. Simple.

  5. Wait until at least five days after the 5th of November before having your display. If you live next to the village hall, wait until the local dog club meets there and then start the display.

  6. Use a milk bottle to support your rockets. It probably won't fall over and fire the rocket straight at your house.

  7. For bonus points, become completely inebriated before starting your display.

Disclaimer — those practising the traditional art of the fireworks display do so at their own risk. You may want to have a fire extinguisher handy.

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