Inspired by the upcoming Passfire documentary and their production team’s latest travels to Mexico, we are highlighting Mexican firework traditions. Tultepec is considered the fireworks capital of Mexico and they produce pyrotechnics as small as firecrackers, all the way to large shells. Mexico is most known for huge pyrotechnic frames called castillos (castles) and toritos (little bulls). These are elaborate structures that, once fireworks are added, can be synchronized to music and light creating an amazing spectacle.
Castillos are typically made of wood, reeds, and paper and have fireworks attached to them. These structures move and create images and stories for spectators. After a castillo is set off, it can take up to thirty minutes until all the features are done and complete.
Toritos are wood, reed, paper mache, and wire structures shaped as bulls then, like castillos, fireworks are attached. They are usually painted bright colors and can have as many as 4,000 fireworks attached to them. Toritos are named after the traditional Running of the Bulls in Spain. Contestants who make these structures parade them throughout the streets before putting on a performance and lighting them.
Not only are castillos and toritos part of Mexican traditions, but fireworks as a whole. Mexico has been producing and using fireworks since the mid-19th century and it is a long standing tradition celebrated with the National Pyrotechnic Festival every year in Tultepec, State of Mexico.