Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chinese New Year Fireworks

I left out of my previous post about Chinese New Year a critical component: fireworks. Today marks the fourth day of the Chinese New Year. While still considered part of the 15th day Spring Festival, it's not particularly noteworthy (other than my last official day of vacation). However, even tonight, in Shanghai, the fireworks are going off like crazy out in the streets. Beginning around 7 o'clock, then ramping up towards 11 PM until finally reaching a climax at just after midnight, the fireworks outside made me feel like I was in a war zone. I tried to record some video with my camera, but I don't think it quite captures the feeling of being surrounded by fireworks from all sides.

The amazing thing about these fireworks displays is that unlike in the United States, they don't seem to be organized by the local government or any other large organization. They are simply people who go out in the streets and light fireworks on their own. There is some regulation - you're supposed to do it in designated safe areas and police are sometimes around to keep the people away from the immediate launch area. But the disperse nature of the displays means that there are fireworks going off in every direction you look. Really exciting when you live near the top of an apartment building. Not exciting if you need to go to sleep for work the next day.

If this is what the fourth day is like, I can't imagine what it would have been like on the first night. I found a clip on YouTube that was taped in Beijing on the first night. Looks pretty crazy to me. It also seems that some people got hurt during the celebration.


Anonymous said...

In the Lunar calender the 5th day of the new year is "Welcome the Money God Day" that's why people light up the firework to celebrate! Yes the 2nd day is the " Back to Nian-chia day"which means to go back to wife's family day.Ofcourse another feast day!! John

Phyllis said...

GONG XI FA CHAI! Hope the year is filled with good health and prosperity for you and Katie!

Greeting from HK said...

Happy New Year ! Good Health and Great Fortune to come!!!