All the fireworks in China!

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Well the Year of the Ox is in full swing, may you have a good one! A prominent feature of any Chinese celebration is of course fireworks. The Chinese invented them back in the 12th Century as a natural extension of their gunpowder invention – a little thing that kinda changed the way the world fought each other. China is in fact the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks. Likely also the source of the most fireworks related accidents as we have previously mentioned!

I think most people love fireworks. They’re bright, colourful, loud and always present at festive activities such as New Years Eve. Most people would think of fireworks and think of having a good time. In China, it’s different. Fireworks are so commonplace that it’s a daily event. Seeing a fireworks display is no different than seeing a bus drive past – it happens all the time.

While we were in China for at least 6 months straight we experienced nightly fireworks. We couldn’t believe it. They weren’t the huge overly expensive type things you would see over Sydney Harbour at New Years, but moreso ‘kit’ fireworks. Our first night in China had us dragged out to a banquet and as we drove to the restaurant, in an almost surreal way, fireworks were going off over the street. What we couldn’t understand was no-one was actually paying them any attention.

The mess left after a fireworks display celebrating the opening of a small restaurant.

The mess left after a fireworks display celebrating the opening of a small restaurant.

It took us many months to actually see some being launched. We would always see them in the sky from distance, but never anyone actually setting them off. The Chinese set them off to mark so many occasions. Fireworks are a symbol of prosperity and good luck. If a new restaurant opens? Fireworks. If someone moves into a new house? Fireworks. Baby born? Fireworks. Particularly large sneeze? You guessed it, fireworks.

One night we were lucky enough to have dinner down the road from the school where we lived and see them setting up fireworks along the street side. They would start with ‘poppers’, which were lines of what had to be at least 50 red tubes. These were placed along the road. They would then light them one by one and they would launch into the air and explode with a huge ‘pop!” It was amusing as they made smoke go absolutely everywhere and half the empty exploded cannisters were coming down and landing on passing traffic. Safety standards? Nope!

Next came the crackers. These are incredibly loud and come on long tangled vines. The thing with these is after they have exploded they leave an absolutely unbelievable mess around the area they were lit. The Poppers leave considerable mess also – but nowhere near as much as these crackers.

Then finally, fireworks in a box. They bring out a box the size of a small television with a fuse. Once lit it shoots fireworks into the air in a basic, yet quite impressive display. In true Chinese fashion, all rubbish is left on the roadside for someone else to deal with. Within a minute, both of the boxes from the fireworks displays had been scavenged by passers by.

If you thought fireworks in China were just like New Years Eve at home – think again.

Fireworks in a box in full effect!

Fireworks in a box in full effect!

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One Response to “All the fireworks in China!”

  1. fadt Says:

    Nice picture of China in this site…

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