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Meriam buluh (Jawi: مريام بولوه) or bamboo cannon is a type of home-made firecracker which is popular during the Hari Raya festive season in Malaysia, and during the New Year's day celebration in the Philippines. Like other fireworks, bamboo cannons are illegal as stated in Malaysian Explosive Act 1957; ironically, more Malay children turn to the more dangerous bamboo cannon as an alternative to commercial firecrackers which were made illegal by the government.
How it works
A typical bamboo cannon consists of a large bamboo and a mixture of calcium carbide and water. The chemical reaction formed as a result of mixing calcium carbide with water inside the bamboo produces acetylene, an explosive gas. The acetylene explodes when a flame is introduced to the mixture. The explosion may cause severe injury if not handled carefully.
The following describes what some call a "hairspray" cannon, using a flammable, volatile fuel in a tube.
Kerosene is also used as a fuel. Less than a cup (about 200ml) of hot kerosene is poured into a small hole near the breech of the cannon. A lighting stick is used to ignite the fumes and fire the cannon. Then fresh air is blown into the small hole and the cannon is fired again. It takes some practice to make the loudest bang. The bamboo is usually around 4 to 6 inches in diameter and 4 to 5 feet long.