Fireworks on the Fourth of July date back all the way to the nation's founding. On July 2, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife that signing the Declaration of Independence—which would happen in two days—should be met with celebrations that included “illuminations,” the 18th-century word for “fireworks.” The pyrotechnic marvels have illuminated the skies since.
In the modern-day U.S., consumer fireworks are a $1.9 billion dollar business. Most of that consumption occurs right around the Fourth of July—and in all states but one (Massachusetts), some types of fireworks are legal to buy. Several states have additional restrictions on airborne fireworks, but allow sparklers and other, less powerful fireworks.
Americans’ love of fireworks isn’t limited to Independence Day, though: “Display fireworks,” which are used in commercial displays rather than set off by consumers, amounted to $262 million in revenue in 2021. Even in states in which consumer fireworks are tightly regulated, fireworks shows still happen regularly at sporting events, festivals, and concerts.