As we celebrate 4th of July stateside, fireworks are also going off in Japan. Almost every day of summer includes a fireworks festival; around 20 festivals are held every July weekend in Tokyo alone! Beginning around the Edo period (1603-1867), fireworks were used to ward off spirits and commemorate the dead. Eventually firework festivals became a popular form of summer entertainment with guilds of pyrotechnics competing over who could put on the best show. Huge crowds would gather to cheer for their favorite guild. Today, huge crowds still gather for a midsummer evening of eating, drinking and enjoying a sky full of ephemeral entertainment.
Happy 4th of July weekend!