Fireworks displays, a staple of American Independence Day celebrations, almost always inspire excitement. An explosive symbol of our country’s history, they also really top off a summer evening spent outdoors or during a thrilling New Year’s celebration.

Over the course of the hundreds of years in which fireworks have developed and become more sophisticated — creating more spectacular and colorful explosions in the night sky — they’ve also become more accessible and dangerous.

Though fireworks can be safe with the right precautions, many injuries occur from reckless and avoidable mistakes. In the United States alone, there were 9,800 injuries from fireworks in 2007 — up from 8,300 in 1997. The easiest way to protect your, we assume, beloved, fingers is to avoid them altogether. A good way to enjoy fireworks is to watch your town’s public show from a distance with your best bud and a picnic.

If, however, like us, you need a fireworks fix before New Year’s or the Fourth of July, check out some photos of great fireworks shows from around the world.


As you will see in this collection of photos, fireworks are used in many different countries to celebrate events from the large to the small.

Fireworks explode behind the landmark Oriental Pearl TV Tower for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Shanghai, China, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2001. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)


From finances to fashion, fireworks always ignite some celebratory style.

People watch fireworks exploding at the end of the opening ceremony of the Louis Vuitton Act 8 of the 32nd America's Cup, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2005, in the Sicilian port town of Trapani.

The Trapani Louis Vuitton eight and ninth acts are sailed here ahead of the 32nd America Cup set in Valencia, Eastern Spain in 2007. (AP Photo/Alessandro Fucarini)


Even a smaller show can be breathtaking, like this procession of boats in Thailand.

Fireworks are seen during a procession of 50 boats, paddled by 2,082 Thai navy sailors in period costumes, glide down Bangkok's Chao Phraya River in a rarely staged royal barge procession as leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum watch on the riverside Monday night, Oct. 20, 2003. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)


A tribute to technology and architecture with a sparkling display in Germany.

Fireworks light up the night and reflect in the Main river, during the Skyscraper Festival in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, May 12, 2001.

During the festival Frankfurt's skyscrapers are open to the public on Saturday and Sunday. Skyscrapers pictured are: Dresdner Bank, Euro Tower, and Messe Turm, right Commerzbank and Main Tower. (AP Photo/Bernd Kammerer)


A brightly-colored display for Bastille Day, a national holiday in France celebrated annually on the fourteenth of July, marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, a prison where political prisoners were kept during the French Revolution. In 1790, the symbolic storming of the Bastille was essentially the end of monarchy in France.

Fireworks illuminate the sky at the Eiffel Tower in Paris during Bastille Day celebration Monday, July 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)


Fireworks are also used in the celebration of the New Year.

A New Year fireworks display celebrate the beginning of 2006 at the London Eye wheel on London's Southbank Sunday Jan. 1, 2006. (AP Photo/Jane Mingay)


And, as you know, in the U.S., fireworks are used to celebrate Independence Day.

Fireworks explode over Boston harbor, Sunday, June 29, 2003, in Boston. Boston began its July 4th celebration with the special fireworks display called "Salute to the Troops."

The show was recorded and will be broadcast over the Armed Forces Network to U.S. military personal stationed around the world. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)


A fireworks display lights up the night sky over a 50-foot-wide American flag during an early Independence Day celebration sponsored by the East McComb Baptist Church in Summit, Miss., Saturday, July 3, 2004. (AP Photo/The Enterprise-Journal, Aaron Rhoads.)

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