NYE : Why We Go Out with a Bang!

Disclaimer: This post is for fun and informational purposes only. It is illegal in the city of Memphis (and most surrounding municipalities) to light, possess, or sell fireworks within the city limits without a permit.

Fireworks. You love them or you hate them. Whether you like them or not, it is and always has been, a tradition to light them on New Year’s Eve. In the Netherlands, where I’m from,  fireworks are only sold the last 3 days of the year and only lit on New Year’s Eve. The whole sky will light up! When I was 3 years old, I moved to a house connected to a store that became my dad’s bike shop. At this location, my dad decided to also start selling fireworks. I remember when I finally turned 16 and was legally able to help my dad sell fireworks. Selling fireworks with him was one of my favorite experiences in my life.

I vote for having fireworks be part of everyone’s New Years Eve tradition — even if it’s just on TV. Fireworks symbolize a good start of the new year. Lighting the fuse means the old is burning away, and the glittering sparks that comes out means a beautiful new start of the new year.

Fireworks shop
My mom selling fireworks in our yearly fireworks shop

If your family might want to try putting off your own fireworks show, you’ll need to know what kinds of fireworks there are. And I’m here to tell you, from personal experience, there are endless amounts of options.

Here’s your guide to the various kinds of fireworks :


These are my personal favorite. You light it once and several shots come out. There are some with as little as 16 shots, but the big ones for all the way up to as many as 350 shots.

Fireworks Cake

Artillery Shells

These are a one shot deal. You put one ball in a big tube with the fuse hanging out. You light the fuse, and there comes a one-time big time shot out of the tube up into the sky. This type of firework is actually illegal in the Netherlands, so I have never sold this type of firework. I don’t personally like to light these since I didn’t grow up with them, but they are absolutely gorgeous and truly make it like you have a fireworks show in your yard.

Artillery Shells

Bottle Rockets

This type of firework is also a one-time shot kind of deal. You set them in a heavy bottle (or tube you used for the artillery shells), light the fuse, and it shoots straight up into the sky. A lot of my customers when I sold fireworks liked these. Some customers wanted just one single rocket, to commemorate a special person in their live (either alive or deceased).



This is my favorite type of fireworks for kids to watch. It stays low to the ground and usually doesn’t make as much noise. They also last longer than the one shot artillery shells or rockets. The specific firework place in Memphis I go to has fun ones with pictures on them, so they are like Super Mario or Cars themed.


Roman Candles

For me, these are a must-have add-on to any package of fireworks. They are so pretty! They have them in various sizes and colors, but it is basically a candle that shoots out colored balls one at a time. This was an item we kept having to restock frequently in our shop, as nearly every customer got a package of roman candles.

Roman Candles


There are several different fun things that kids can hold, throw on the ground, or pop. My favorite are the ‘pop pop snappers’. You throw them on the ground one by one (or multiple at once) and they pop as they hit the ground (does not work on grass or soft surface). Of course my second favorite are sparklers. I love all the different kinds, but my favorite are the long ones called ‘Morning Glory’ as they change colors throughout the burning time. Confetti poppers are also always fun (if you don’t use them all, you can use them for all sorts of different occasions!).


There are other little things you can buy, but these are the main categories of fireworks that exist. I personally do not recommend buying an assortment package, as the things that are in there are usually quite a bit smaller and not always worth your money. I also recommend keeping track of what you have in your cart… When I get all the things I want, I usually end up spending more than what I was budgeting for. So be careful and keep track of how much your total will come out to.

So now… It’s finally time to light your fireworks! I recommend lighting them at a safe distance. Don’t wear flammable clothing. Don’t put your head right above the firework when lighting it (I’ve seen so many people do this!!). At our shop, we always recommended wearing safety glasses as well. Make sure your firework sits sturdy on the ground. Don’t put anything in your hands, or on an unsteady surface. And, don’t make your own fireworks. That seems like silly advice, but that is how accidents happen.

Fireworks van
My dad’s fireworks van

Side note: the Netherlands has cancelled all fireworks sales for 2020 and 2021 because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in Europe.

Writer Disclaimer: This is written based upon personal experience from selling and lighting fireworks. This is in no way an ad for any type of fireworks. 

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Originally from the Netherlands, Vivian moved to Memphis in 2011. She received a full athletic scholarship to combine her studies with athletics, throwing shot put, discus, and hammer for the University of Memphis. Vivian graduated with a Bachelor’s in Sport & Leisure Management in 2014 and a Master’s in Communication in 2016. After graduating, she started working in education and became a Physical Education Teacher in 2017. She taught at a private school for 3 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl, Nora (September 2019). Vivian met her husband Travis at the University of Memphis, hit it off in Europe, and married on a leap year (February 29, 2016). Together they own a quadplex in the Binghampton community. Vivian loves traveling and exploring new places with her husband and child. She enjoys hanging out with her fellow international friends, trying new exercise classes, and being creative by coloring, painting, or writing.


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