Watching Fourth of July fireworks is a national tradition unlike any other in the United States: Families, friends, and entire communities gather in parks, on rooftops, or even on car hoods and pickup beds to take in vibrant—and loud—displays of color and sound that fill the night sky. These magnificent showcases are a hallmark of July, and also mark the midpoint of the summer calendar.
However, the U.S. isn’t the only country that celebrates with pyrotechnics or fiery performances (and the Fourth of July isn’t the only time Americans go for the big bang). Across the globe, various festivals and events feature big flames and even bigger explosions. In Nejapa, El Salvador, residents hurl flaming, kerosene-covered balls at each other each August to commemorate a 1658 volcanic eruption. Easter celebrations in Vrontados, Greece, are unique: The sky lights up around two churches as members of rival parishes fire bottle rockets at each other’s bell towers in an event known as the Rocket War.
From the National Mall of Washington, D.C. to Tainan City, Taiwan, here are 12 celebrations that truly go out with a bang.