The world's most expensive firework displays

'Remember, remember, the fifth of November.' The nights may have got darker, but in just a few days' time, we'll see the sky lit up in honour of a quintessentially British tradition.

Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes' Night, is a celebration that dates back to the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The Catholic conspirator Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament - and with them, the reigning Protestant King, James I.

However, the plot was foiled at the final hour, and the anniversary of Fawkes' arrest for treason is celebrated every November 5th in a blaze of fireworks and bonfires - and many a 'Guy' pitched onto the flames.

A lot of money can certainly go up in smoke (literally) when it comes to putting on a firework display, as these examples from around the world show.

  • Abu Dhabi, in the Middle East, is well known for its wealth and as a destination for the super-rich.

    In December 2009, the city aimed to secure the world record for the biggest and most expensive firework display - estimated to cost around $20 million (12 million).

  • The New Year's Eve fireworks display over Sydney Harbour is perhaps the most iconic to be found Down Under - and is known the globe over. The city spent an estimated $6.3 million on the display when bringing in 2021, turning the Sydney Opera House and the skyline into an impressive riot of colour.
  • Across the pond in the US, the 4th of July is a national holiday that merits a national fanfare - and a lot of fireworks!

    The Boston Pops Firework Spectacular, in Massachusetts, is one of the best-known Independence Day firework displays - and costing around $2.5 million for the entire show, it's also one of the most expensive.

    More than 20,000 lbs of fireworks are set off over the Charles River during the 21-minute spectacle, which is watched by around 500,000 revellers.

  • Beijing certainly made sure that, as the host city for 2008's Olympic Games, it launched proceedings in a blaze of glory, with an impressive pyrotechnic show. The fireworks were thought to have cost around 9 million RMB - the equivalent of a hefty $1.3 million.

  • The largest single firework rocket was made and launched by ANEPE in Portugal, for the 12th International Symposium on Fireworks on 13th October 2010. The rocket contained 33 motors (the average standard firework rocket has just 4!) and was 7 m long.
  • Portugal also holds the Guinness World Record for the largest firework display. The Macedo'S Pirotecnia Lda. in Funchal, Madeira, consisted of 66,326 fireworks!

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