As I sit here and type, I feel like a war correspondent filing my story. That is because outside there are sounds of gunfire and explosions. It is not the sound of war, it is the sound of fireworks. In The Netherlands, it is legal to have fireworks. The law is that on New Year’s Eve, you can start lighting fireworks at 10am and you must stop by 2am, January 1. At 10:05 this morning, someone started shooting off firecrackers in our neighborhood. Soon, others had gotten into the act, and it now sounds like we are surrounded.

We are not sitting back and ignoring this ritual, which is HUGE in this country. We will be outside our house tonight setting off our own fireworks, which we picked up today. Here is a photo of our stash. Notice the safety glasses, we all be wearing them tonight.

fireworks 2012-2013

This is a dangerous activity, there is no question. Every year you hear about people who have been seriously injured, and most times it is because they have made their own fireworks. The Dutch press does a good job of getting the word out about safety and the consequences of stupid or drunken behavior.There are people who like to be really funny with fireworks, and blow up mail boxes or the exhaust pipes of cars. And there are many people who will start lighting their fireworks before New Year’s Eve, which is completely against the law. But on the whole, most people seem to follow the rules.

While writing this, the sound effects have not stopped. Tonight we will light up our little corner of the sky and then go to sleep to welcome in the new year. I wish for all of us a year of good health and happiness. Never downplay the importance of happiness.

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  • inke  On January 1, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Happy New Year, Jane for you and your family! About the fireworks? Yes, it feels like a warzone, , absolutely hate it! For a majority of the Dutch it is incomprehensible that this is still legal . Someone said this week that politicians in the Netherlands have the same cowardice about the fireworks debate as American politicians have about gun control. And I agree with this. Good night, be safe.

  • Sandra  On January 1, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Happy New Year to you! Although we enjoyed the fireworks at First Night Worcester, our dog was grateful not to have heard them at all. Cheers!

  • Ria Delight Megnin  On March 28, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    The west side of Dayton, Ohio is like this at the Fourth of July — a crowded city where all you can see and hear for most of 24 hours are the rattle and bang and sparkle of fireworks in all directions. It’s truly stunning!!

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