The firecracker has a history of more than two thousand years. When before the days of gunpowder, the Han people burned bamboo to make a crackling sound to scare the evil spirits away. Although just a folk tale, it showed people's desire for a peaceful and happy life. Nowadays, Chinese people tend to set off firecrackers for traditional festivals, wedding ceremonies, temple fairs and other celebrations. During Chinese New Year, the use of firecrackers is very frequent and popular.
The origin of the firecracker is often connected with a legend. Many years ago, a monster called "Nian" that attacked people and animals showed up every New Year's Eve. It was discovered however, that this beast had a fear of loud sounds and the colour red. Therefore to scare off the monster, people would burn the bamboo or put up red pictures everywhere. In the Tang Dynasty, the "banger" was made out of a long bamboo and burned one segment at a time. Later in time, due to the invention of gunpowder, the bamboo firecracker was improved as people put gunpowder inside the bamboo, creating a louder noise. In the Northern Song Dynasty, people began rolling paper and filling it with gunpowder, thus showing that the traditional firecracker had been replaced.
Nowadays it is now a traditional custom to fire firecrackers during the Spring Festival. Though it adds to the joyful atmosphere, the smoke and the sparks cause pollution, as well as the lack of safety that's often associated with them. One should be responsible when handling a firecracker and should always keep them well away from children.