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Title: Beneath the glow
Authors: Sant, Gail
Keywords: Fireworks -- Malta
Pyrotechnists -- Malta
Malta -- Social life and customs
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: University of Malta
Citation: Sant, G. (2019). Beneath the glow. THINK Magazine, 27, 22-25.
Abstract: A child laughs with glee as she skips along a narrow rubble wall. Her mother raises an eyebrow—'Tilgħabx man-nar,’ she calls out. Translated, the saying that warns against ‘tempting fate’ also literally means ‘don’t play with fire’, ironic when one of Malta’s national pastimes is literally fire play—logħob tan-nar. Fireworks. With around 35 known firework factories peppering Malta and Gozo, the tradition can be traced back to the Knights of St John. They used fireworks to celebrate important occasions such as the election of a new Pope or Grand Master, and so the display became rooted in our past and more recent history, evolving with time to become the complex artform that today wins Malta acclaim the world over. But there is more to the story. Studies have shown that there’s a dark side to this flashy spectacle. Some of the chemicals used to create fireworks are harmful, and as a result, each festa leaves behind residue which may be more dangerous than we think. To get a better idea of the situation, we interviewed two people on opposite ends of the fireworks operation: Mr Karl Rueth, a firework crafter, and Prof. Alfred Vella, an environmental chemist who has studied some of the effects fireworks leave behind after the party is over.
ISSN: 2306-0735
Appears in Collections:Think Magazine, Issue 27

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