It’s bonfire night, and there are going to be quite a few bangs happening all over London. We can imagine many of you will be standing outside, wrapped against the cold, marvelling at the amazing bursts of colour overhead and thinking ‘wow, those are some pretty cool explosions.’
But while Britain isn’t bad at the whole firework thing, they’re not a patch on Mexico. Did you know that in Tulpec, Mexico, there is a National Pyrotechnic Festival that lasts for nine days?!
Originally it was a celebration of John of God, the patron saint of fireworks makers, and is now an annual event to promote the country’s tradition of firework production. The main event, that began in the 19th century, was a parade of bull-shaped frames with fireworks in them, known as ‘toritos’.
Along with the amusement rides, concerts and releases of sky lanterns, there are three main events that are split between the town centre of Tultepec and the fairgrounds in the San Antonio Xahuento neighbourhood. So what are these crazy firework events that are so beloved that they attract more than 100,000 visitors?!
Literally meaning ‘castles’, this is a contest where people make frames of wood, reed and paper measuring between twenty five and thirty meters. The frames take about fifteen days to build, and the idea is that fireworks are attached to various parts of the structure. When they’re set off they make images or pieces of the Castillo move.
If you think this sounds familiar when it comes to customs, you’d be right. It’s named after the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, it sees frames known as ‘little bulls’ (also known as ‘toritos’) which also have fireworks attached to them. They are painted in bright, vibrant colours and can measure anything between 50cm to 3m in height. These Toritos are paraded on March 8th in honour of John of God, and set off fireworks for five to six hours before arriving at the town’s main plaza.
The last competition is a feast for the senses, where fireworks are combined with music to make an extravaganza for those watching and listening.
The National Pyrotechnic Festival takes place at the beginning of March, so if you finish tonight feeling like you just didn’t get your firework fix then now might be the time to consider booking a ticket to Tulpec…