Festival of fire: San Juan de Dios

Reporter: Denham Hitchcock, Producer: Richard Andrews

Festival of fire: San Juan de Dios

Once a year in a small Mexican town, for nine crazy pyromaniac days, the greatest fireworks celebration on the planet can be seen from space. '''


The week long Festival of San Juan de Dios ends with a fiery parade involving 300 huge man made bulls parading through the streets.

This year the injury toll from this event was 499 plus one Australian – new Sunday Night reporter Denham Hitchcock, who needed hospital treatment on his first assignment.

Imagine doing the notorious ‘running with the bulls’ event in the middle of a continuous explosion and it doesn’t come close to describing what happens in Tultepec, the craziest place you will ever see.



San Juan de Dios has been running for 150 years and is held to celebrate John of God, the patron saint of pyro technicians.

The town of 50,000 depends on the making of fireworks to stay alive. To this day, they are still manufactured as they were centuries ago - by hand and with little to regard to health or safety.

During the week Sunday Night was there, 80 tonnes of fireworks were let off.

Unlike Australia, there are no rules or laws governing fireworks in Mexico - meaning that anyone can let of a cracker wherever they like and whenever they like.

For more information about Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics, visit their website.

Check out the preview of Passfire the feature documentary about the world's most amazing fireworks, the people who make them and the cultures behind them.