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The origin of "firecrackers" in China can be traced back to the Han Dynasty, specifically from 202 BCE to 220 AD. During this period, Chinese people roasted bamboo in fires, causing hollow pockets in the bamboo to expand and eventually explode, creating a loud sound.

Several centuries later, during the Tang Dynasty, a Chinese alchemist stumbled upon exploding black powder while attempting to create an elixir of life. This accidental discovery involved combining saltpetre (potassium nitrate), sulphur, and charcoal, resulting in what is now known as gunpowder.

Gunpowder stands as one of China's four great inventions, alongside papermaking, printing, and the compass. The newfound explosive powder was then packed into bamboo tubes and thrown into fires, creating an even louder blast.

It wasn't until the Song Dynasty (960-1279) that gunpowder found its application in manufacturing fireworks. This involved packing gunpowder into tubes made of rolled paper and adding a tissue paper fuse, resembling the fireworks we recognise today. Traditionally, Chinese people believed that fireworks could ward off evil spirits, making them a prominent custom during public holidays, weddings, funerals, and other traditional ceremonies.

One prevalent legend contributing to the belief in fireworks as protectors against evil spirits is the story of a monster called "Nian," which also means "Year" in Chinese. Legend has it that Nian would emerge on Chinese New Year's Eve to consume people and destroy crops. Over time, people discovered that the monster feared fire and loud sounds. By burning bamboo until it exploded, creating a loud noise, fireworks in their simplest form were born and became a tradition during Chinese New Year.

Various tales attribute the hero responsible for scaring away the New Year's monster, yet they share a common theme: Nian was afraid of loud noises, bright lights, and the color red.

Ancient Chinese belief held that fire could dispel bad luck, sparks could bring good luck, loud noises could scare away evil spirits, and smoke could elevate Yang energy, a positive life-force. Given that fireworks produce these effects, they naturally became the perfect celebratory product.