Fireworks are illegal in Las Vegas


fireworks beautify every event
Photo: Karin Döling
The photo rights belong exclusively to the photographer, any copy and further use of the photo is prohibited

As Fireworks one describes a representation or performance in which pyrotechnic objects and fireworks are ignited in a coordinated manner.

The art of fireworks

The first fireworks were probably in China during the Song Dynasty, but they were not characterized by a light, but by a bang. In the late 14th century, the use of black powder in Italy (first mentioned in Vicenza 1379) developed into an independent art of fireworks, which then spread throughout Europe. It was further developed into an art form in Japan, where it is called hana-bi "flowers of fire" (from the Chinese huāhuō) and served religious purposes.

Photos: Rainer Schwarz

On June 26th, 2009 during the NRW day the "New Elephant" was inaugurated in Hamm.
Exchange 300 fluorescent tubes against 22,000 energy-efficient LED lights. Computer technology makes it possible for the glass elephant in the Maxipark to be illuminated in all rainbow colors - even by remote control.
A Fireworks rounded off the event. See the article: Lighting.

New Year's Eve 2013/2014 in Bielefeld with major damage to a high-rise building

Photos: Bielefeld police, KHK Mertens

Nowadays, in America and Europe, fireworks are fired mostly around the New Year. In addition, fireworks are set off on national holidays, such as American Independence Day, or at major events (major sporting events, funfairs, music festivals, etc.). In Asia, fireworks are usually fired in summer. In southern European countries, fireworks are set off, especially at Easter.

see also:


They are world famous Fallas in Valencia (Spain) in early March with noisy Daylight fireworks (Mascleta), the huge fireworks in Las Vegas that I mentioned Hanabis in Japan with up to a million viewers. International competitions are the Fireworks Olympics, the Pyronale and, since 2007, the World Pyro Award. Well-known large fireworks in German-speaking countries are about Rhine in Flames, Cologne Lights, Middle Rhine lights or the fireworks for Zurich Festival with 1.2 million viewers.

Include pyrotechnic effects Lighting effects (Shapes, colors), Sound effects (Bang, whistle), smoke, Heat generation and artificial fog.

After the effect

A distinction is made between fireworks on the ground and above:

  • To the Fireworks display (High fireworks) one basically counts all fireworks whose effect bodies are shot into the sky or which are self-propelled into the sky. Fireworks like Bombs and Missiles.
  • To the Ground fireworks include fireworks anchored to the ground such as Fountains, Volcanoes, to sunbathe, fountain and water falls.
    • Since this classic style was very popular during the Baroque period (and is now often burned to baroque music), ground fireworks are often also called Baroque fireworks.
    • Bengal light pictures are a special form. They represent writings or other things.
  • Fireworks, which eject their effects upwards into the air, but do not detach themselves from the ground, occupy an intermediate position between the ground and height fireworks. This includes fireworks like Fire pots and Roman lights, Smoke and flame effects.
  • When fireworks are fired at the same time or one after the other, fixed and rising fireworks are often referred to as one combined fireworks on the ground and in the air.

There are other types Sea fireworks (which is shot from rafts), technical fireworks like that Stage fireworks (Theatrical fireworks), the fire show, movie special effects or the pure Illumination, i.e. lighting by means of pyrotechnic effects.

A list of the effects is given in the article Fireworks.

After the endangerment

Classification according to the extent of the effects and the resulting risk:

  • Center fireworks (K. III): These are of a more limited extent, particularly with regard to the height of rise and the amount of disintegrant. The legal regulations are then a little less strict.
  • Small fireworks (K. II): These are fireworks that are not allowed to be set off by people who are not trained as pyrotechnicians.
  • Small fireworks (K. I): Fireworks joke articles and toys, table fireworks: They can usually be used without legal restrictions.

Special forms:

The article gives an overview of this Pyrotechnic item as well as the legal section


This section deals only with the legal situation in relation to fireworks. For more information on legal regulations, see: Pyrotechnics (division into Hazard classes), ADR (transport), pyrotechnician (job description).

General legal regulations

While individual effects and smaller fireworks can also be set off by private individuals, large fireworks can only be shot by trained pyrotechnicians in the frame.

In general, the free shooting of pyrotechnic objects is only allowed on New Year's Eve / New Year's Eve. If you want to organize fireworks on other dates, you have to apply for a corresponding exemption from the locally responsible authority. These approvals relate to a time window, i. H. the fireworks may not start before a certain time and must end at a certain time at the latest. This also includes the demonstrations organized by the specialist staff. The use of pyrotechnic objects in the immediate vicinity of churches and places of worship as well as hospitals, children's, retirement and recreation homes is prohibited in principle.

The increase in both inadequately trained fireworkers and fireworks on a wide variety of occasions and the resulting nuisances and accidents, as well as concerns about environmental protection has also resulted in increasing social rejection and leads to stricter legal regulations. The availability of articles on the Internet proves to be a particular problem: the legislature only makes trained specialist personnel responsible for their submission, and illegal burning can then hardly be controlled. The import of fireworks from EU countries is only permitted to licensed specialist companies.

national legal situation for private individuals

The restrictions on the use of fireworks by private individuals are relatively similar in most EU countries, and differ in details with regard to classification, minimum age, free sale and the like:


In Germany, the sale of class II fireworks to private individuals is outside the period from December 29th to 31st forbidden. If December 28th is a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, sales are permitted from December 28th.

Class II items according to Paragraph 1 of the 1st Ordinance on the Explosives Act may only be ignited from December 31, midnight to January 1, midnight. Cities and municipalities can additionally restrict the ignition of class II pyrotechnic objects for these two days or generally undercut it for fire protection reasons. The acquisition and use are only allowed to be of legal age, i. H. Reserved for people over 18 years of age. An exception to these rules are all those fireworks that have been classified in class I by the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM). These fireworks can be sold to anyone all year round and can also be used by minors (so-called year-round fireworks). The import of fireworks of any kind by private individuals has been a criminal offense in Germany since 2005.


Class I objects are generally not subject to any restrictions, class II articles may only be detonated by people of legal age outdoors and outside of local areas, class III only with the approval of the authority (district authority, police headquarters, magistrate), class IV and all other objects be used by trained professionals without exception.


Category I is not subject to any restrictions for the buyer, a minimum age of 12 years is recommended for the sale of articles in category II, but this is handled differently by canton. For categories III and G1–3, an age of over 18 years is required.


  • Michael S. Russell The Chemistry of Fireworks. The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2000, ISBN 0-85404-598-8
older literature
  • Franz Sales Meyer: Fireworks as a hobby's art. SurvivalPress, 1898 Reprint 2002, ISBN 3-8311-4012-X
  • Takeo Shimizu: Fireworks - The Art, Science and Technique. Pyrotechnica Publications, 1912, Reprint 1981, ISBN 0-92938-805-4
  • Karl Gelingsheim: The modern art fireworks. A guide for amateurs. Survival Press, 1913 Reprint 2001, ISBN 3-8311-2946-0
  • August Eschenbacher, A. Vandrovez: The fireworks. Survival Press, 1920, Reprint 2003, ISBN 3-8311-2743-3
  • George W. Weingart: Pyrotechnics. Survival Press, 1943 Reprint 2002, ISBN 3-8311-3270-4
  • Arthur Lotz: The firework. Its history and bibliography. 1978 Edition Olms Zurich.




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