New Year in Germany

img_7533We used to live in a country where fireworks are illegal. So imagine our surprise when we first saw different kinds of fireworks for sale in basically any shop you can imagine in Germany. Here, it’s a massive tradition to shoot fireworks on New Year’s eve (more than anywhere else I’ve ever heard of). The people believe that they’re shooting all the bad stuff from the last year away, so they can start the New Year on a clean slate. This means that millions of Euro’s are shot into the air, in one of the most spectacular fireworks displays I’ve seen in my life.

Being as crazy about animals as I am, it did freak me out more than a little that they were firing so many crackers and fireworks, while so many people have pets here. I bet they pay just as much in animal sedatives as they spend on the actual fireworks.

Before Kayla went to bed, we took her outside and lit some sparklers for her. She slept through the firework display by some miracle. I still have no idea how.

The shooting began at about ten minutes to midnight and only started to quiet down at about twenty to one. They didn’t stop shooting till around 6am on January first. We live on the second floor and we had views right around our apartment. I’m not lying or exaggerating even a little when I say they were firing 360 degrees around us. In our street, from balconies, across the road, everywhere. I have never experienced anything in my life that comes close to this.

It was strange and beautiful. I have to admit that after a while, I started to feel almost claustrophobic. After half an hour of non-stop fireworks, I didn’t enjoy it as much any more. I worried about Kayla (who was asleep and is afraid of fireworks) and I worried about Cupcake and Tiny back in South Africa. I guess coming from a third world country where people really struggle and are poor, seeing money exploding in the air made me sad. It’s not logical, I get it. But at that moment, the beauty of it faded for me.

Thinking back on it now, I get that I might have been a little melodramatic. Fireworks are beautiful, I agree. But anything in excessiveness can become ugly. To me, worrying about animals going insane at the sound of explosions, babies crying because they don’t understand what that sound is, and people in less financially secure countries, took over the moment.

It made me want to do better. Better for my own folks, better for folks I don’t know and better for four (or more) legged folk.

The pictures are still awesome though. 😛

It’s almost a month late, but I sincerely hope that 2016 is the kind of year where you have no bad things to shoot into the sky. Just good memories and things you want to hold on to.

Yolandie