Fireworks actually have much more technical names than "The Ones That Do That Shooty Thing," "The Ones That Scream," or "The Ones That Kind of Sparkle Out." Before you take in your next pyrotechnic display, here's a mini lesson on the types of fireworks you might spot.
The peony is "a spherical break of colored stars." If you’ve ever been to a pyrotechnic display, you’ve probably seen this one—it’s among the most popular fireworks effects.
The chrysanthemum is a variation of the peony. These concentric spheres shower the sky with a visible trail of sparks.
The willow is a lot like the peony and its variations (the Chrysanthemum and the Dahlia). This large firework leaves trails of silver or gold stars that cascade downward to produce a weeping willow-like shape.
The horsetail is a compact little burst that falls down, well, like a horsetail. You might also hear this one referred to as a Waterfall Shell.
When the firework shell bursts, little squiggles of light squirm away from the main burst. The effect looks like fish swimming away.
The spider burns fast and bursts hard, which makes the stars shoot out straight and flat, like a ton of little spider legs.
When a palm firework bursts, it produces long, thick streams of light that look like a palm tree.
Take lots of tic-tac-toe boards and cross them over each other haphazardly. That's kind of what a crossette firework looks like. It's usually accompanied by a loud crackling noise.
Named after a Japanese hairstyle for boys, a kamuro has a dense burst that leaves a large, glittery trail.
Pyrotechnic designers can get creative with this one. Rings come in a variety of shapes—think stars, smiley faces, and hearts—and often have rings within rings.