Celebration of Light

Celebration of Light
Photo: hondacelebrationoflight.com
The Honda Celebration of Light, formerly known as the Benson & Hedges Symphony of Fire, is an annual musical fireworks competition held in the Canadian city of Vancouver. It is one of the largest and most famous festivals in British Columbia with an estimated annual attendance of 1.4 million people.

The history of the festival began in 1987, when British American Tobacco, the company that owns the Benson & Hedges cigarette brand, organized a fireworks competition in Toronto. The event was named the Symphony of Fire. Three years later, the first Symphony of Fire competition took place in Vancouver.

Both festivals had been held annually until 2000. That year the federal government of Canada legislated tobacco advertising restrictions so Benson & Hedges could no longer sponsor the event. The Symphony of Fire had to change the name due to trademark issues and find new sponsors.

The Vancouver event was eventually renamed the Celebration of Light. It has had several title sponsors over the years. Since 2012, the competition has been sponsored by Honda, a Japanese automobile manufacturer. The Honda Celebration of Light is a friendly international fireworks competition open to fireworks display companies from around the world. Each competition features three teams from different countries. Past participants include Canada, Japan, the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, the United States, China, Brazil, France, Thailand, Vietnam, Italy, and more.

The teams are judged by a jury made up of respected industry professionals, representatives of sponsors and partners, and celebrities. They view the displays from a stage located atop the English Bay Beach bathhouse building. Each fireworks show is evaluated based on the following six criteria:

  • sizing and balance of the show (10 points);
  • overall design and artistry (30 points);
  • timing and synchronization (20 points);
  • originality and novelty of effects (15 points);
  • quality of soundtrack (15 points);
  • quality of fireworks (10 points).

The technical director of the competition can penalize a team by up to 5 points for showing a lack of professionalism, sloppy installation or disregard of local safety regulations.

Past winners of the competition include teams from Canada, Japan, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and other countries. However, the Celebration of Light isn’t all about determining the winner. Its main goal is to provide spectators with an incredible show and unique experience.

Celebration of Light

Photo: hondacelebrationoflight.com




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