Photograph by Thomas Prior
Mark Twain, in his infinite wisdom, once defined a true patriot as “the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.” And for most Americans, fireworks are about as patriotic as it gets. Synonymous with Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day — really, any summer day defined as a federal holiday or something looser — fireworks let us express our feelings of American pride in literally the loudest (and brightest) way possible.
But the United States is far from holding the monopoly on pyrotechnic patriotism. Originally invented by the Chinese in the 7th century, fireworks are a cultural staple in many (if not most) countries around the world.
And in Tultepec, Mexico, fireworks are used to celebrate the country’s legacy of — you guessed it — fireworks. The National Pyrotechnic Festival, founded in 1989, draws hundreds of thousands of spectators from around Mexico and around the world. The main event is a “running of the bulls,” featuring a seven-hour parade of large paper-mache bulls made of fireworks. Photographer Thomas Prior traveled to Tultepec, a major producer of fireworks in Mexico, to document the festival. Check out more of his work here.
— Vaughn Wallace
See more of Thomas Prior’s work on his website, his Tumblr and previously on LightBox here.
So nice to see my buddy’s work on LightBox - he’s pretty amazing, even if he doesn’t realize how amazing he is. Love yah dude.