I still remember when I was a child, watching the countdown to the Spring Festival Gala with my family, the moment the New Year ushered in on the screen, and the sound of firecrackers outside the window followed.
With the implementation of the ban on burning, we grew up and gradually got used to the quiet New Year.
But this year is a little bit special.
▲ Picture from: Stills of "We Are So Lovely"
As a result, some areas have changed from burning bans to restricted burning, and limited types of fireworks can be set off at specified times and places.
Secondly, fireworks and firecrackers have the meaning of driving away the beasts of the year and the god of plague, and it is also a concrete manifestation of the "new year". People who have experienced the epidemic for three years are eager to say goodbye to the old and usher in the new.
When fireworks and firecrackers have the possibility of re-igniting, the old-fashioned topic of "should firecrackers be set off during the Spring Festival" has become more and more discussed.
Limited flavor of gunpowder, returning this Spring Festival
When the peak of infection has passed and the Spring Festival is approaching, the fire and excitement brought by fireworks and firecrackers, to some extent, symbolizes relaxation after a long period of tension.
However, due to the existence of the ban on burning in recent years, there is nowhere to be found if you want to hear it.
The ban on burning was first implemented in the late 1980s, because the incidents of property damage and personal injury caused by setting off fireworks and firecrackers in major cities increased year by year. Since then, a total of 282 cities across the country have enacted burning bans.
Around 2005, the policy was loosened, and some areas changed the ban on combustion to restricted combustion, but around 2018, it became increasingly strict. At that time, the three-year "Blue Sky Defense War" was launched, and the burning ban was an important measure .
This year, the situation has changed again. On the political inquiry platform, netizens in Sichuan, Shandong and other places asked about the local regulations on fireworks.
Some cities gave affirmative answers, dividing time periods and areas to achieve combustion restrictions.
Dongying, Shandong stipulates that fireworks and firecrackers can be set off in some areas from the 23rd of the twelfth lunar month, from New Year's Eve to the fifth day of the first month, and the fifteenth day of the first month.
In contrast, last year’s Spring Festival in Dongying was “quiet,” with a city-wide ban on selling, burning, and setting off fireworks.
In less than a year, the status of fireworks and firecrackers "repeatedly jumped".
▲ Picture from: "New Bridge Lovers" stills
Tianjin’s Binhai New Area, six inner districts, and four districts around the city continue to implement the nationwide ban on releases since the end of 2018, but Wuqing District, Baodi District and other districts have “optimized” management , allowing time-limited, limited Fireworks are set off in the area.
During the New Year’s Day, some netizens broke the news that when the citizens of Tianjin set off fireworks, police cars stood by. This behavior is called “assisting in the destruction of fireworks.” .
▲ Picture from: Visual China
Many places have also reiterated the ban on burning, and firmly shook their heads at fireworks and firecrackers.
Shanghai has made it clear that fireworks are prohibited in areas within the outer ring road, and this regulation has been in place since 2016 .
In the whole area of Hefei, Anhui Province , except for the announced non-prohibited areas, it is prohibited to discharge all year round, continuing the regulations from January 2018.
Starting from July 1, 2022, Wuhan, Hubei will completely prohibit the display of fireworks and firecrackers within the administrative division.
In fact, the issue of "should fireworks and firecrackers be banned or restricted?" has been debated since the implementation of the ban on burning.
The cause of the debate is not difficult to understand. Behind the two orientations, one is worried about the safety, pollution, noise and other issues derived from fireworks and firecrackers, and the other is the nostalgia for traditional customs and the belief that there is no need to give up eating because of choking.
On January 6, CCTV.com published a commentary titled "The Prohibition and Releasing of Fireworks Should Be Seriously Faced", which mentioned:
Under the surface of polarized public opinion, the government policy does not only have two options: "strictly ban release" and "release if you want"…Block and release, different places have different situations, big cities are different from small cities, Mountainous cities are different from coastal cities, and rural areas are also different from cities.
Such utterances are rational and gentle, returning the problem to each locality and testing their governance capabilities. In fact, this is the only way to go. The prohibition and release of fireworks and firecrackers needs to be tailored to local conditions, and the "greatest common denominator" should be found among different demands.
For details, you can refer to the opinion of Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs. He believes that in the long run, there are three conditions for the lifting of the ban on fireworks:
1. Form a discharge code that is consistent with the local high-density urban living environment, and prohibit the sale of any super-large and super-sounding fireworks at general outlets;
2. Formulate fireworks and firecracker exhaust gas and noise emission standards so that their discharge can match the current air quality and noise standards;
3. Prompt fireworks and firecracker manufacturers to return to traditional crafts and produce ultra-low emission miniature fireworks and firecrackers through strict environmental protection standards.
Firecrackers are set off or not, why are there quarrels?
The decision on whether to ban or limit fireworks and firecrackers is ultimately left to each locality to make its own judgment.
Also worth noting is the controversy itself.
It makes us realize that fireworks and firecrackers are actually a "difficult to agree" problem, but they are also a "family carnival" celebration. They explode in the air you and I breathe together, and are watched and watched by everyone nearby. Listening, it can be said that it is so domineering that it cannot be avoided, and it can also be said that it has built a common emotion for us towards the year.
Some people like the smell of sulfur dioxide, while others find it pungent.
Some people like the liveliness resounding through the streets and alleys, while others can't bear the continuous sound of cannons on New Year's Eve.
Between policy considerations and festival traditions, positions are confusing and intertwined.
When discussing a problem, we should actually pay attention to its prerequisites. When our best memories of Chinese New Year remain in childhood, city construction and fireworks are not what they used to be.
▲ Picture from: Tuchong Creative
On the one hand, today's cities are full of high-rise buildings, with dense population, buildings, and motor vehicles, instead of bungalows and low-rise residential buildings in the past, and the air circulation environment has changed.
In an interview with Red Star News, a fireworks and firecrackers manufacturer said that many rural areas are relatively less affected by the ban on burning. Currently, 80% of the fireworks and firecrackers produced in the factory are sold to rural areas.
On the other hand, fireworks and firecrackers are constantly upgraded and iterated.
When I was a child, there were no more than 200 firecrackers, but now there are 500 to 1,000. The overall sound and light effects are also better. The spray height and gunpowder content of the flute sound thunder, colorful pearls, and fireworks bombs have all been increased.
▲ The new Internet celebrity fireworks "Gatling" is full of firepower.
Therefore, the taste of the new year has changed, as have the urban environment and fireworks. If you want to minimize the controversy, you can only cut in from the production management and discharge behavior of fireworks and firecrackers to find a buffer.
For example, it may be feasible to stipulate that discharges should be carried out in designated areas.
Yanchuan County, Yan'an, Shaanxi has set up concentrated fireworks and firecrackers, including open areas such as city squares and Lizha Square.
The Tongzhou District of Beijing has made it clear that after approval by the public security department, fireworks and firecrackers can be set off in the limited area of the Universal Resort, and other areas are prohibited throughout the year.
In addition to restricting the area and time of fireworks display, Xi'an also plans to hold a centralized fireworks display event on New Year's Eve and the 15th day of the first lunar month this year. Citizens can watch it at the scene or through online broadcasting.
This not only echoes the taste of the year but also ensures safety. If you want to release it, you can join in the fun, but if you don’t want to release it, you will be quiet.
The "technical and environmental revolution" of fireworks and firecrackers is also underway, gradually changing from big and loud to entertaining and ornamental.
In an interview in Nandu, a person in charge of the Fireworks and Firecrackers Association pointed out that toy fireworks and low-pitched, low-dose "urban fireworks" are suitable for urban areas and are popular with young people. Sales may increase this year.
The "ambient fireworks" that do not require ignition have also been circulated on social platforms such as Xiaohongshu, Douyin, and Weibo.
For example, the "bubble salute" is a combination of a bubble machine and colorful lights. Colorful bubbles fly up suddenly and then shatter in an instant. It is not fireworks that are better than fireworks.
In the "modernization" of fireworks and firecrackers, you can see the sense of boundaries between people. Unlike the customary group celebrations in rural society, it has become a more self-entertaining activity, without basing one's own happiness on the pain of others.
The fading taste of the year, lighter customs
I don’t know when, but every Chinese New Year, I can hear the saying that “the taste of the New Year is getting weaker and weaker”.
What is the flavor of the year? Some people say that the taste of the new year is the taste of the customs of the year, such as offering sacrifices to the stove, sweeping the dust, pasting Spring Festival couplets, setting off firecrackers, eating New Year's Eve dinner… When these traditional rituals are no longer performed so seriously, the taste of the new year will not be as good as before.
▲ Feng Zikai's "Spring Festival Scene".
For young people in small towns, this gap may be more obvious.
When I was a child, I spent the Spring Festival in the countryside, and several generations live together in the same house. Now I am renting a house in the city and working hard, stepping on the spot to return to my hometown the day before New Year’s Eve, trying to escape the "continuous cannon" of relatives asking questions.
When I was a child, I was always looking forward to the Chinese New Year. It is rare to eat big fish and meat. Now that I have become an adult, the New Year’s Eve dinner is like a family of three meals for a few days.
The Internet has swept everything. Alipay’s collection of five blessings, WeChat group grabbing red envelopes, pre-made dishes that are difficult to overturn, and the threshold for annual customs have been lowered. When watching the Spring Festival Gala, you can’t help but be distracted by swiping your phone.
▲ Picture from: Stills of "Take My Brother Away"
The fading taste of the new year seems to be an irreversible trend. When living conditions improve and family structures change, many things we dreamed of in the past don’t have to wait until the new year to be fulfilled. The Spring Festival is gradually becoming less meaningful, and occasionally it is still a sweet burden.
Fireworks and firecrackers can’t escape the train of the times. In the past, we seldom went to the cinema to watch movies or go to KTV to sing. Fireworks and firecrackers are one of the most realistic and convenient pastimes, but now there are more alternatives, and they are simpler and more convenient. rough.
Recently, the Steam page of the cyber firecracker game "Firecrackers & Fireworks: Spring Festival Simulator" was launched. You can use firecrackers to interact with various props such as manhole covers and cow dung, or hold a gorgeous fireworks show. continue.
There are also various fireworks simulators on the App Store, similar to the "electronic wooden fish" that can achieve "soul salvation" without leaving home. "Electronic Fireworks" is also a lightweight catharsis.
It seems to be cyber fireworks, but it is still a nostalgia for traditional customs; the form of festivals passed down from generation to generation can also bring comfort after the taste of the new year has faded in a simpler online experience.
It's just that when the old custom is out, the new custom has not yet stood the test of time, and it is more like a compensation for "self-deception".
The fireworks show at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics last year adhered to the concept of simplicity, with a total duration of only 3 minutes. The special effects fireworks used were all high-tech, environmentally friendly and micro-smoke fireworks , which reduced the impact on the environment.
This example is not to emphasize the environmental protection concept of fireworks and firecrackers again, but I think Zhang Yimou's explanation is very interesting:
No matter how you set off fireworks, even if it is a new technology, a new technology, it is a harmless and non-polluting fireworks, but it still burns after all, so we should try to reduce the amount of it, you don’t need to put it all over the sky. .
"One Leaf Knows Autumn" is also a normal state of the Chinese New Year. The Spring Festival is more and more like an ordinary holiday that is neither long nor short. The wanderers returning home can only occasionally glimpse the glimmer of the old sense of ritual.
Reference: "The Prohibition and Release of Fireworks and Firecrackers Affects More Than the Taste of the Year" Southern Weekly
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