What Are Roman Candles?

Roman candles are traditional aerial fireworks that fire shots into the sky from an elongated tube. They’re available in a wide variety of sizes, making them great for both the backyard and professional celebrations. They also offer a different creative dimension to a display because they can shoot multiple stars or shells into the air in successive order, unlike cakes which typically fire shots one at a time.

The term “Roman candle” is derived from a tragic period in Roman history when Nero, the Roman Emperor from 54 to 68 C.E., tortured devoted Christians by stringing them to the poles in his elaborate gardens and lighting them on fire. The Roman candles resembled the Catherine Wheel on which St. Catherine of Alexandria was to be condemned to death.

Although it might seem like a fun idea to hold a Roman candle and fire it from your hand, this is very dangerous and could result in severe injuries including the loss of an eye or even limbs. Every year there are multiple tragedies involving roman candles that were held on ignition and fired into the body or face of a person.

It’s important to always plant roman candles so, what are Roman candles? firmly in the ground at a sensible angle away from people and flammable objects and to keep them pointed up into the sky, not towards the audience. It’s also a good idea to have an extra bucket handy filled with sand or kitty litter to place the roman candle inside of and point into the sky. This prevents the rocket from firing into or over your head while it is shooting up into the sky, which can be a hazard for anyone in close proximity.

When using roman candles, it’s also important to follow the instruction manual and never point a Roman candle at another person. If a Roman candle hits a person and causes an injury, the shooter may be held responsible for assault or personal injury, depending on the circumstances.

Many videos online appear to glorify roman candle battles, but the truth is they’re no more fun or safe than a gunfight. In fact, roman candle fights often result in serious injuries, including permanent eye damage, because the fireworks are pointing at the faces of participants. This is why Chicago Fireworks strongly encourages people to use only professional grade fireworks and heed all safety guidelines.