In which we learn the Czechs are either exploding with joy or insanity.
So, it’s 12:30ish AM as I write this, and fireworks have been screaming outside my window for a while now. Except, none of these are civil. They’re all private citizens. And it’s been this way for about six hours now.
Firecrackers and fireworks are a festive part of any New Year’s celebration; even Kim Jong-un knows that. What surprises me though is the amount of private fireworks, and how many people have them.
The bangs started at around 6:30, and have been going ever since. Being the lighthearted person that I am, I’m left wondering if these are the noises people hear from a city under siege: constant bangs, constant cracks, etc. All sorts of colors and sizes; in fact, I’m almost certain some large scales ones went off right in front of my window. As I write this, the sky is thick with smoke, and the smell of burnt gunpowder and cardboard… and fog. Yes, you can barely see tonight, and Praguers are lighting off fireworks like there’s no tomorrow (which I suppose is true for 2014). From what I can tell and see, this has been city-wide all night.
I mentioned above “insanity.” I feel justified in say that, as I’ve seen people…
*Launch fireworks from windows
*Launch fireworks from their roofs
*Light crackers ON their roofs
*Set them off in the street, on porches, and in between buildings.
*And, even set them off when people are around; if the smoke cloud is any indication, someone set off a large firecracker right behind my back when I was out for a walk tonight to find a respite. There was none to be found.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s been very pleasing to have a free fireworks show like this. But I am a bit amused by a people who have chided my country’s penchant for owning and using guns using fireworks with little apparent restraint or common sense. Of course, there is a reason why people get so excited; January 1 is also the date that the Velvet Divorce, the separation of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, came into effect, so it could be argued this is their Fourth of July. If that’s part of it too, it further amuses me to see a people who have chided the stereotype of Americans chanting “USA!” celebrating their own birthday with a panache that rivals ours.
There IS going to be an official fireworks show tomorrow night, but I have to wonder… will it hold a candle to the passion and joy I’ve been seeing all night? Despite the interesting theme, methinks not. There’s something uniquely organic to what I’ve been seeing and hearing…
…even if it is starting to keep me up…
And so we begin 2015! Stay tuned for my next podcast episode on Dresden, the launch of my “History of Europe” podcast, and who knows what else. Happy travels!