New Year's celebrations

Guest ghostwind

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Guest ghostwind

How do people celebrate the New Year in other countries? Here in Germany it is champagne or wine cooler and Kartoffelsalat with sausages and, of course, fireworks, and the firecrackers have become louder and more efficient from year to year. People here are spending millions of Euros every year for fireworks and crackers. All the crackers are importated from China (it surely is a good bargain for them) and they are officialized by limiting of their explosive power. But there are many crackers from Eastern Europe (especially Poland) that are illegallly brought over the border and that have most dangerous explosive power. Every year the authorities are giving warnings concerning the hazardous handling with illegal crackers.

All in all I find those crackers nerve-racking and also dangerous. But that's what might be called cultural standard. It is accepted and allowed that drunken people may smash crackers and endanger themselves and others. I'm sure it wouldn't be a good idea going along the streets here at midnight Sylvester... and as it is allowed to start using crackers here from 12.00 am Sylvester to 12.00 am the day after New Year's Day it even might be dangerous all that time. What do you think about crackers? I don't mind all the nice fireworks etc., but I especially dislike all kinds of crackers.In my opinion it is some kind of insanity, but I must admit that in former times I was infected by this same insanity too - ok, in Germany you say: "Man soll kein Wasser predigen, wenn man selbst Wein trinkt." (don't preach about water if you drink wine yourself)... I'd be interested in your opinions.

Edited by ghostwind
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Good Morning, and Happy New Year-

I doubt if your view will receive much sympathy here- until I moved to Utah, I had never before encountered such a people so enamored of fireworks and things that go "bang".

We have fireworks and firecrackers (first time I've actually seen the distinction used- in common usage, there are one and the same) on July 4th (national Independence Day) and July 24th (Pioneer Day, in celebration of the first settlement of Utah), and again on New Years.

We also have both fairly restrictive laws on the type and power of fireworks, as well as easy access to "illegal" fireworks imported from neighboring states.

Finally, because Utah is a desert climate, we have varying degrees of fire danger year-to-year.

Despite all that, and based on observation, the general consensus is startlingly libertarian in nature: so long as you're not hurting anyone else, we'll leave you well enough alone.

This is the eternal principle of agency at its finest, and we find those who would restrict us- especially "for our own good" (as they see it)- to be especially nettlesome.

The German saying you quoted "Man soll kein Wasser predigen, wenn man selbst Wein trinkt." (don't preach about water if you drink wine yourself)- would be accepted almost without question here.

Perhaps- but unless it is doing you direct harm, you have little moral recourse towards squelching it.

There are many things that "kids these days" do which I consider folly, foolishness, or just plain stupid. Unless it's immediately dangerous, they're doing it to me or mine- or doing it on my lawn- it's a lesson they'll have to learn for themselves.

Or in other words, "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink."

Edited by selek
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In the Philippines, most houses blow something up on New Years. Usually, they're homemade "crackers". When I was a kid, we used to make these things called "Judas Belt". They come in different shapes. The one we made was in the shape of a triangle, an inch long on each side and about a quarter inch thick filled with gunpowder with a wick about 2 inches long. Then we tie 5 of these things to make one bunch. Then we tie each bunch together in a line to form a belt. You light one end of the belt, run away, and listen to the continuous bang-bang-bang... One year, we made so many of these triangles that we were able to make a Judas Belt that spanned the length of the basketball court. It went on for 30 minutes.

Then we make homemade rockets (kwitis) which is basically a firecracker tied to a skinny bamboo stick so it flies up in the air before it bangs... Of course, if you don't hold it right it could fly anywhere. Every year, one of my relatives gets burned by one. My friend built us a launcher with a "hanger" for the kwitis and a "gutter" under the wick so that all we need to do is light up one wick and the sparks run along the gutter lighting the rocket next to it and they all launch in succession.

Then there's the airwolf which is another flyer but instead of bamboo sticks, the fireworks are stuck to cardboard pinwheels so that it spins up before it bangs.

Then we have the bamboo cannons where we have one thick bamboo barrel, we put kerosene on one end, light it up and it makes a loud bang on the other end. Of course, then we have to blow the smoke out of the barrel before we can load more kerosene and that's usually how you lose your eyebrows when you get a backdraft when you blow out the smoke... My brothers have lost their eyebrows time and time again and burnt their lips too.

These days, they have mortars and fancy commercial fireworks interspersed with the homemade stuff.

Then, of course, when we run out of fireworks, we bang pots and pans and garbage cans together and toot the car horn.

Every single year, we have hundreds of kids injured due to fireworks. We ven have the occasional deaths. I've had my share of burns before I learned the trick to lighting a triangle properly. Most of the fireworks are actually illegal. But, the only cops that confiscate them are those who want to blow the thing up themselves. Everyone knows fireworks can be deadly. But, the New Year tradition is considered by Filipinos as well worth the risk so that parents don't think to stop their kids from blowing up a triangle... They just try their best to teach the kids how to handle one safely. Even the little kiddie fireworks (the one you put on the ground and grate with the sole of your slipper onto rough concrete to light up and make tiny popping noises) are chemically toxic if touched by bare skin.

Anyway, I loved Christmas/New Year growing up. The fireworks were a big part of it.

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