The hit television show “Jeopardy!’ marked the Fourth of July with an insane fact about how many fireworks Americans light up for the holiday.
“It’s been estimated that Americans set off 200 million pounds on the Fourth of July weekend,” the show posted on its Instagram account. “That amounts to 140 terajoules of energy or over 33 kilotons of TNT.”
Several fans of the show responded to the post with stories of their (safe!) Fourth of July celebrations. Some commented festively by saying “Happy Fourth, everybody!” Meanwhile, others had a stark tone.
“Hate fireworks. In my neighborhood, it starts the day before the 4th and lasts till 3 AM the next day. Enough already people!!” one commenter wrote.
“Can we find a new tradition? So bad for the air and my sanity,” another one wrote.
“Jeopardy!” is a quiz-style game show in which contestants are presented with clues in the form of answers. Contestants must answer these clues with a question. The show has produced over 8,000 episodes since it first aired on NBC in 1964. Sony Pitcutres Television purchased and syndicated the program in 1984.
“Jeopardy!”-Style Fourth of July Facts
According to Farmers Almanac, the fireworks displays we see today originated in China. The earliest discovered fireworks are nearly 2,000 years old and were made of bamboo stalks. Gunpowder-filled fireworks weren’t invented until between 600 and 900 A.D, the almanac says.
Fireworks found their way to Europe after The Silk Road opened during the 13th Century. During the Renaissance period, they began to be incorporated into several celebrations. For example, Ann Boleyn’s coronation of the Queen of England in 1533 was accompanied by a fireworks display.
According to Farmers Almanac, both Peter the Great and King Louis XIV were fans of fireworks.
An American History of Fireworks
America’s fascination with fireworks has deep roots in the country’s history. For example, John Adams wrote in a letter that fireworks should accompany the country’s declared independence from Great Brittain.
The letter says that festivities should include “Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forever more.”
According to Farmers Almanac, fireworks were “morale boosters” for soldiers during the Revolutionary War. However, fireworks held a different meaning at the time. Back then, fireworks were used as rockets during war, not for celebrations. So, fireworks really represented continued support for their mission.
In the 1700s, several politicians used fireworks during their stump speeches. This tradition was firmly minted in the 1800s, according to Farmers Almanac.
The first Fourth of July fireworks display took place over Philadelphia in 1777.