Chinese new year, also known as Spring Festival (or as the lunar new year), is but six days away. Think: food, lanterns, rice wine, the colour red, and fireworks. Yes, nearly a ton of fireworks will be bought by every household, to the delight of family members both old and young, as they caress hand-held explosives in the spirit of celebration.

Here are some fireworks-related words of advice and wise counsel for the general public – locals and expats alike – to ensure maximum enjoyment of this colourful and, er, incendiary holiday season, in the form of a twelve-point guideline:

  1. This time of year can be a bit breezy or windy, so ensure that your lighters flame catches the fuse by opening up your winter jacket and lighting the rocket beneath this convenient, improvised wind-breaker.
  2. Give your rocket an extra two meters of air by launching it from your hand. Either the right one or the left one: you choose.
  3. Pay no attention to wind direction, your surroundings, or the environment. Fireworks go up into the sky, not horizontally into someone else’s house, or into a dry forest. Usually.
  4. Firecrackers can be set off in the street, where they can be enjoyed by all. Don’t be selfish by setting off these babies in your own private space. No, lay a line of firecrackers across a busy bike-lane, pavement, or an entire road, so that all the passers-by can share in the noise and spectacle.
  5. Firecrackers can also be ignited in any communal area, such as an apartment block’s courtyard. This is a good way to share the joy of your firecrackers. Ensure you set off the firecrackers in close proximity to cars and electric bikes, ensuring that their blaring alarms are also set off, adding a very modern electronic beat to this traditional festivity.
  6. Who invented firecrackers, dynamite, and explosives in general? Why, the Chinese of course. Be sure to remind any foreigners that you see of this fact by hurling a small firecracker in their path. This cultural gesture will be much appreciated.
  7. Pets are not to be left out of the fireworks element of this holiday season. Ensure that all cats and dogs are left outside on new year’s eve as the firework cacophony reaches its peak.
  8. All fire-fighters and other ‘public servants’ will be busy watching the CCTV “Spring Festival Craptacular Gala” on television. They are not to be disturbed with emergency phone calls about time-wasting issues, such as fires.
  9. Fireworks and alcohol do mix. After all, this is the holiday season.
  10. Fathers should use this season to nurture their father-son relationship. Teaching children how to light fireworks using your cigarette as it dangles between your lips is an excellent way of bonding.
  11. Shopkeepers of China, think of the profit to be made from selling fireworks at this time of year. Pack away your usual stock of nearly-out-of-date biscuits and grey-import Marlboros, and instead fill your shop with several tons of red-packaged, top-quality fireworks. Then, just sit back and light a cigarette, and contemplate the profit that will soon be coming your way.
  12. In Britain, the ‘Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ has a ten-point safety plan for dealing with fireworks. Such displays of weakness are the reason that country lost the Empire.

A very happy Chinese new year to all readers. May you enter into the year of the pig with good fortune, good cheer, and all functioning limbs and sensory elements.


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