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Chinese New Year Firecrackers & Fireworks: Custom or Pollution?

A Chinese man bikes over a street covered in the red dregs of used firecrackers.

Chinese business owners light firecrackers to ring in the first day of opening for business in the new year, hoping it will bring them good luck.

From NetEase:

Business owners throughout the country set off firecrackers hoping for a good year

January 29th, the first day of work and 7th day of the new year following the Spring Festival long holiday, business owners and shop owners one after another lit fireworks and firecrackers when opening their doors for business in hopes of good fortune in the new year.

That day, Wuhan deployed around 20,000 sanitation workers to sweep up firecracker litter. According to the city management bureau statistics, from 8-10 in the morning, 840 tons of “fireworks for opening the door on business in the new year” were detonated.

Chinese business and store owners setting off fireworks and firecrackers on the 7th day of the Chinese New Year.

Jinan city in Shandong province, on the first day of work following the Spring Festival long holiday, many work units and companies lit fireworks in accordance with traditional customs for good luck.

Chinese people setting off fireworks for good fortune on the 7th day of the Lunar New Year.

Jinhua city in Zhejiang province, firecrackers being set off for luck in front of several businesses.

Exploding firecrackers in China during Chinese New Year celebrations.

Several work units and companies in Dalian set off firecrackers for luck on the street in front of their homes.

Long lines of firecrackers being set off by Chinese business owners on the 7th day of the Chinese New Year hoping it will bring them good luck.

January 29th on the 7th day of the new year, the first day of work following the Spring Festival long holiday, several Wuhan business and store owners one after another lite fireworks and firecrackers for an auspicious new year.

Boxes of fireworks and long strings of firecrackers in front of a Chinese company.

A Shanxi province Taiyuan business owner lights firecrackers in front of his door. Photo: CNS Wei Liang.

Smoke from firecrackers being set off on the first day of opening for business following Spring Festival.

Jinan city of Shandong province, on the first day of work after the Spring Festival long holiday, many work units and companies lit firecrackers in front of their doors in accordance with tradition for good luck.

A Chinese sanitation worker sweeps up the red husks of used firecrackers that cover the streets of China during Chinese New Year.

Dalian sanitation workers cleaning up firecracker fragments.

A Chinese sanitation worker walking amongst a sea of red firecracker litter that covers the streets of China during Chinese New Year.

Dalian sanitation workers cleaning up firecracker fragments.

Chinese women cleaning up the streets of used fireworks and firecrackers.

Shanxi Taiyuan, many business-owners set off firecrackers for good luck, while female sanitation workers sweep up firecracker litter.

A Chinese man bikes over a street covered in the red dregs of used firecrackers.

A passerby rides past the leftover fragments of firecrackers in front of a financial company on Wenhua Road in Zaozhuang city of Shandong province.

A fire burns over the litter of firecrackers.

Hubei Wuhan, burning husks of spent firecrackers.

A Chinese man with a broom tries to smother smoldering firecracker shells.

Renmin Road in Dalian’s Zhongshan district, several businesses set off firecrackers for good fortune.

A Chinese scavenger collects the cardboard boxes of used fireworks for recycling.

Zhejiang province Hangzhou, a scavenger collects the large boxes of spent fireworks.

Comments from NetEase:

网易杭州主管 [网易浙江省杭州市网友]:

Did that guy in the third photograph set off an atom bomb?

lbg224522 [网易广西南宁市网友]:

The same festive welcoming of the new year in the past used only 1/10th of the fireworks and firecrackers used today, is polluting the air considered progress?

cqsi0621 [网易重庆市网友]:

Poor sanitation workers…

网易江苏省徐州市网友: (responding to above)

Selfish, how about at least giving the ayi [female sanitation workers] a red envelope…

邵嘉琪 [网易吉林省网友]: (responding to cqsi0621)

Actually, these paper husks/shells can be sold for quite a lot of money!

不要智商低得让我看不起 [网易广西南宁市网友]:

Right hand condemning those polluting the air. Left hand holding a lighter lighting the most polluting firecracker. A smile on one’s face.

街市花园 [网易四川省遂宁市网友]:

Seeing the ground covered with firecrackers, all I see is pollution.

哄哥高唱 [网易北美地区网友]: (responding to above)

Not only is it polluting the air, these poisonous chemical substances will enter surface and underground water, directly polluting water sources.

暂时在这个地球流浪 [网易黑龙江省大庆市网友]:

Doing business without considering how to better operate and instead counting on these superstitious things, might as well just shut down the business.

信念重要吗 [网易山西省太原市网友]:

Taiyan Yingze Street Xinjian Road intersection. Don’t know if it was PICC or what company, but they were even more crazy with the firecrackers.

xinlinxue520 [网易英国网友]:

It’s okay to light fireworks, but you guys should clean up your own trash afterward.

lixin100 [网易山西省太原市网友]:

Strongly demand that [firecrackers] be prohibited next year, this year’s air pollution was truly unbearable!

网易湖北省武汉市网友: (responding to above)

Not only is it air pollution, it’s also the noise, and the fire hazard, fuck.

陶自高[ 网易上海市网友]:

These fireworks and firecrackers are most revealing of the nature of Chinese people. Always congratulating oneself, completely disregarding others, and definitely not sharing with others. No matter from what perspective, all of this is inferior culture. But just like what Lu Xun said, a tumor has grown on our heads, and instead of thinking of how to excise it, we do everything we can to prove how good this tumor is.

后羿之徒 [网易江苏省网友]: (responding to above)

Indeed it is a cultural weakness/inferiority. Holidays have not involved firecrackers for a long time now. Yet Spring Festival is full of firecracker noise without regard for day or night, making it unable for me to sleep soundly. I personally oppose this kind of culture!!!

网易是我家 [网易北京市网友]: (responding to above)

What weakness/inferiority? Are you not Chinese? Are you a Westerner? Japanese? What nationality do you want to be? Problem is even if you become another nationality, they may not even recognize/accept you [as one of their own]. Not identifying yourself with your own people’s culture, you living is just taking up space.

shendemuyu [网易辽宁省沈阳市网友]: (responding to above)

Don’t make it more than it is, weakness is weakness and has nothing to do with this. Does not lighting firecrackers suddenly mean one is without weakness?

美人天下环球旅游 [网易北京市网友]: (responding to above)

A bunch of idiots, I’m rendered speechless by you guys.

太阳侠客 [网易四川省成都市网友]: (responding to above)

Take a look! This is the face of our country’s people!

What do you think?

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

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