Bonfire displays are a time-honoured tradition celebrated in various parts of the world, each with its unique cultural significance and festivities.
These awe-inspiring events light up the night sky, bringing communities together to commemorate history, celebrate local traditions, and enjoy the mesmerising sight of roaring bonfires and vibrant fireworks. Here are five of the best displays from around the world that offer a feast for the senses:
1. Up Helly Aa, Shetland, Scotland:
Up Helly Aa is one of the most famous fire festivals in the world, held in Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, Scotland. This event takes place on the last Tuesday of January and culminates in a dramatic torch-lit procession, where a replica Viking long-ship is set ablaze. The participants, known as "guizers," wear elaborate Viking costumes, and the festival celebrates Shetland's Norse heritage in a spectacular way.
2. Las Fallas, Valencia, Spain:
Las Fallas is an annual celebration held in Valencia, Spain, in March. The event is famous for its incredible sculptures called "fallas" that are created to be burned in a massive bonfire on the last night of the festival. The processions, fireworks and the burning of fallas, which are often satirical or politically themed, make this celebration a one-of-a-kind experience.
3. Diwali, India and Beyond:
Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by millions of people worldwide, primarily in India, but also in countries with significant Indian diaspora communities. The festival symbolises the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. During Diwali, homes, temples, and public spaces are adorned with oil lamps and colourful firework displays light up the skies. The atmosphere is one of joy, togetherness, and spiritual significance.
4. Guy Fawkes Night, United Kingdom:
Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night, is of course celebrated on the 5th of November in the UK. It commemorates the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. People build bonfires and set off fireworks to remember the event. Some of the most spectacular displays can be seen in London, where the sky is filled with dazzling pyrotechnics against the backdrop of historic landmarks, and of course one of Britain's most famous is in Lewes.
5. Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Festival, Myanmar:
The Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Festival in Myanmar is celebrated during the full moon of Tazaungmon, which usually falls in November. The highlight of this festival is the release of massive hot air balloons filled with fireworks. These balloons, often adorned with paper lanterns and intricate designs, are launched into the night sky, creating a breath-taking spectacle that can be seen from miles around.