I thought I’d close out this year with a Bang – with a post featuring firecrackers.
Where I live (the Hawaiian Islands), New Year’s Eve is the biggest celebration involving the use of fireworks. More fireworks are set off on New Year’s Eve here than on the Fourth of July, or on Chinese New Year’s. Way more.
The use of firecrackers on New Year’s is a long-standing tradition here, and is reputedly of Chinese origin. However, it seems that people of all ethnicities use them. Traditionally, it is said that the firecrackers “scare away the evil spirits”, and may also serve to “bring good luck for the coming year”. While those who use the fireworks may not literally believe in that, it is still fun to get into the spirit of it, and to carry on the tradition.
While the firecrackers are traditional, there are many other varieties of fireworks that are used, from sparklers and fountains to sky rockets. (The skyrockets are actually illegal, but somehow they seem to end up being smuggled into the Islands in large quantities. I can hear them exploding outside as I write this.) And then there are some people who make homemade fireworks as well, dangerous as the practice might be…
New Year’s Eve builds up to a climax at midnight, when the the New Year arrives. The fireworks are indulged in usually beginning at around sunset, but as midnight approaches, the residents hang long strings of firecrackers on poles, and light them right at midnight.
In addition to the thousands of firecrackers exploding, many people shoot off large numbers of skyrockets, lighting up the skies, and filling the air with loud resonating booms and bangs, and thick clouds of smoke.
The cacophony of fireworks continues for a time, and then begins to taper off, as people start to deplete their supplies of New Year’s fireworks. This continues until about 2 o’clock or 3 o’clock in the morning, by which times it is mostly quiet, except for a few stray reports here and there.
Eventually all of the partying and merrymaking subsides, everyone goes to sleep, and a new year has been noisily rung in.
…And now I had better hit the “Publish” button to get this online, so I can go out and light some fireworks for the New Year…
Happy New Year, everyone!