We apologize for the recent sparseness of new posts. We thought we’d have more time after getting through camp week, but family life, as usual, found other ways to keep us running.

If you’ve been reading us for a while, you might have noticed that may of our posts come out fairly early in the morning, when Mr. Family Trivium wakes up and gets a chance to distill the previous day’s family research and fill in any gaps. To do this on a regular basis requires getting to bed at a reasonable time and getting good sleep. As Independence Day approaches, people in our neighborhood are beginning to celebrate, and keeping us all from soundly falling and staying asleep. Yes, it is fireworks season. defines a firework as “a combustible or explosive device for producing a striking display of light or a loud noise, used for signaling or as part of a celebration.” It is a compounding of “fire” and “work” first used between 1550 and 1560.

Over at, Jennie Cohen has written an article: Fireworks’ Vibrant History. Cohen dates the earliest fireworks to about 200 B.C, when the Chinese discovered that roasting bamboo caused its air pockets to explode, and, hopefully, ward off evil spirits. It was not until somewhere between 600 and 900 A.D. that Chinese alchemists would develop gunpowder, which we’ll look at in more depth in a future post. Gunpowder was stuffed into bamboo shoots and thrown into a fire to produce a loud blast, again with the hopes of chasing off evil spirits. What we think of today as the firework was born.

From the beginning of this post, you may get the impression that we don’t like fireworks. This isn’t true. We like having fun. We simply like having fun responsibly. In our last mead post, on cyser, we advocated drinking adult beverages responsibly – for example: when you are not about to get behind the wheel of a car. While setting off loud fireworks when your neighbors are in bed, trying to rest for the next day of work, might not have the same immediate consequences as drinking and driving, it is just plain rude and driving when fatigued can be dangerous. After bedtime, go ahead and go crazy with sparklers, snakes, smoke bombs, non-whistling fountains, ground blossoms, etc. That won’t offend us.

We like all of these displays. We like the loud stuff (okay, not too loud) during appropriate hours (we’ve had experience working night shift and know some people sleep during the day and we expect, and know how, to cope with noises when bedtime is daytime). We really like the awesome displays put on by professionals. There are several in our area. We’re hard-pressed to pick our favorite firework, but we’d love to hear about yours in the comments.


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