On the week of Chinese New Year and in the days to follow, expect to hear firecrackers go off well into the middle of the night. No, your fortress is not being attacked, although it certainly sounds that way. Coming from a long line of tradition, the loud bangs from firecrackers are thought to fend off evil spirits and ghosts. Although, the noise will probably be more successful at frightening the uninitiated than warding off bad luck. If this is your first time spending Chinese New Year in China, brace yourself for a week of uneasy living.
Fireworks remain a contentious issue in the Capital. Efforts were made in the past to ban fireworks, but most attempts have been relatively short term. Although now with the monitoring of air pollution levels there is a chance there will be no fireworks being set off if the days reported are either orange or red, find out more here. In 1988, the National People’s congress restricted the production and display of fireworks. In 1993, the Beijing government went further, by banning fireworks altogether. Due to the public outcry and continued disregard for the fireworks ban, it was officially lifted on September 9, 2005.
So if you intend on purchasing or partaking in any events where sparklers and fireworks will be present, keep some of these basic tips in mind (even if it seems like you’re the only one following them!)
– Hold sparklers at an arm’s length away. After the flame goes out, put it in water. Many trash cans have been burned, due to misplacing of sparklers
– Never go near a firework that has been lit.
– Only allow adults to handle fireworks.
For a more intensive guide to how to handle mini explosions with care, check out the ehow website, where ”Joe,” a fire captain, will give demonstrations on how to handle sparklers and fireworks safely.
This post has been slightly modified with the latest development in regards to fireworks. It first appeared here on February 10, 2010.
Photo courtesy of anthony wang (flickr).