05/11/2010 by Sarah Ritchie
Within our first few days in the country we heard a noise – one evening – that made my heart sink. It sounded like a loud series of explosions and gunfire. Propelled by my pre-conceived notions of war and terrorism, we hurried around to our neighbour, rapped on his door, then had to endure him laughing heartily at our expense. Our foreign ears were soon informed that the sound was fireworks in the city park next door! Not like our puny New Zealand backyard fireworks, but fireworks on par with a large public display. The kind of skyrockets that boom across the blackness like a celestial floral bouquet.
The fireworks were part of a wedding celebration. In Israel, people work six days a week and the seventh is Shabbat, a holy day of rest (no work and no weddings). The only time people usually find to get married is in the evening. In Israel, fireworks are relatively inexpensive, and so we were treated to a most beautiful display – quite regularly – during the dry months.
There are few things in life which can elicit “oohs” and “aahs” from people en masse, and which can draw the multitudes together. There can be no doubt that fireworks are a universally-acknowledged beauty. People will happily pay to watch momentary bursts of brilliant colours, patterns and lights that illuminate the night sky.
I have to give kudos to the Chinese for inventing fireworks back in the 12th Century. Then, our British “motherland” decided to combine the Chinese expertise with their bizarre Gunpowder Plot commemoration to give us Guy Fawkes Day…a day when money explodes in a flash of colour and smoke, purely to bring visual pleasure. Bring it on (in a sensible, controlled, public display, think-about-the-animals kind of way, of course)!