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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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Photography, events, Japan, fireworks, fire festival 2014, Location Feature, current event, Instagram,

Igniting Handheld Fireworks at Summer Festivals in Japan

For more photos and videos of the handheld fireworks, browse the 手筒花火 hashtag.

Brave men of central Japan ignite handheld fireworks, bringing exciting showers of flames to local summer fire festivals. These cylindrical, handheld pyrotechnics called tezutsu-hanabi (手筒花火) originated in Toyohashi during the Edo Period (1603-1868) and continue in modern-day Japan with events such as the 19th annual Fire Festival (炎の祭典) this Saturday. To make these fireworks, craftsmen stuff black powder into bamboo trunks casted with thick ropes. Once lit, the cylinders spray sparks of fire until the explosives finish with a loud blast.

Shinto festivals traditionally used fireworks to protect people from evil spirits and bad fortune, and they now make up an essential summertime activity in Japan. The handheld fireworks are still crafted to present as offerings to local shrines until they are fired on festival day. Only a handful of summer events in central Japan feature this type of firework, and the thrilling displays of men inside downpours of sparks offer local and visiting Instagrammers a chance to capture some of the most spectacular moments of the summer.

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weekend hashtag project, WHPlightsatnight, fireworks, Instagram, photography,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPLightsAtNight

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes & hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

This weekend’s tag was #WHPLightsAtNight, which asked participants to take creative photos and videos of lights at night. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

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current events, fireworks, July 4th, independence day,

Independence Day Fireworks on Instagram

Tonight, skies across the United States lit up with fireworks for Independence Day. We’ve gathered some of our favorite photos and videos here, and you can find more by browsing the #fireworks, #july4 and #independenceday hashtags. We hope you enjoyed the fireworks in your town!