People around the world love to stage a big, bold, and beautiful display. Whether Independence Day celebrations (USA), royal weddings (UK), or New Year galas (Australia), most of these national holidays are accompanied by gigantic firework extravaganzas. At the same time, warning voices and distractors have led to tightened restrictions: After all, bangers and crackers are the bane of the old and frail, people with pets, and those with small children. And it is not just about the frightening volumes – many fireworks contain hazardous substances. Major displays can push up the particulate load to thirty times the legal limit within just a few minutes or hours. Cities like Paris or Venice have already cancelled their incendiary spectacles – and there are more than enough personal reasons to bypass the seasonal fireworks aisle in your local supermarket.
A great blend of colorful, attractive, immediate, lively, and romantic impressions, fireworks draw us all the way in – and all the way up into the night-time sky. Well, there are plenty of fun alternatives on the ground for equally engaging New Year’s Eve celebrations:
You don’t have to go without that satisfyingly rich, piercing, and mighty bang of a great fireworks display. Why not up your game with a moment of luxury – and that inimitable snap, crackle, and pop of a freshly expelled champagne cork? If that’s not enough noise for you, look back to olde timey traditions and take to the streets armored with bell-studded outfits and cracking whips. You are bound to attract more attention than those with expensive pyrotechnics.
A riot of colors
Each bursting firework elicits sounds of wonder and joy – think twinkling gold waterfalls, sweet pink glitter fountains, or sparkling blue sugar canes glistening in enchanted hues. Well, why not step up to the challenge with your own light show and projections? Makers and inventors will love to create a bespoke visual delight – and can look to Paris for inspiration. Since 2011, the City of Love has been bathing the Eiffel Tower in an impressive New Year’s countdown that wows the crowds without any actual fireworks.
Let’s get cozy
You prefer a laid-back approach and don’t really care about all the excitement? Well, then you are a prime candidate for hosting your own party, preferably out in the countryside. Dressed in several cozy layers, everyone can snuggle up close and enjoy a romantic bonfire night with plenty of heart-warming mulled wine.
One, two, run!
Fireworks are designed to blow up – occasionally setting structures and even people alight. Real pros don’t try to be bold, but quickly move away once the fuse is lit. This dynamic back and forth between “firing range” and safe refuge can really amp up the heart rate – and finds an even better (and healthier) outlet in one of the many New Year’s run challenges. São Paolo‘s Corrida Internacional de São Silvestre, for example, attracts around 25,000 athletes and fancy dress crusaders every year. Entertainment – and exercise – guaranteed!
Many public firework displays attract happy couples in loving embrace. A practice the mayor of Venice whole-heartedly supports with his Night of the Kiss campaign. “Kisses, not bangers” has been the canal-crossed city’s motto ever since its fireworks ban in 2011. The fun and free highlight: Communal smooching on Piazza San Marco on New Year’s Eve. This not only protects Venice’s crumbling cultural assets, but also benefits the city’s image.
So, give your heart, mind, and surroundings a boost by swapping the fireworks for sparkling emotions!
Text: Vanessa Obrecht
Header Image: NAKT / photocase.com