As I sit here at the kitchen table facing the big window, the sound of fireworks can be heard in increasing regularity. Once in a while, the sight of fireworks illuminating the night sky will distract me from my computer screen, startling me in my deep concentration. And it is only 6 o'clock!!! It's not even midnight yet. In fact, for the past three days that's how it has been. It only increases as we approach the new year.
Fireworks are a popular way to celebrate New Year in the Netherlands. At the stroke of midnight on new year's eve, fireworks are set off continually for about one or two hours. The nice thing is we do not have to go far. The whole of neighbourhood will be firing their very own fireworks!!! In the Netherlands, towns or cityhalls do not organise central fireworks display, except for Rotterdam where the national fireworks display can be seen.
Rotterdam - Picture courtesy of Pyroworld via Mr Google
When we were in Amsterdam, we would be waiting on the 3rd floor window as 12 midnight approached. We would be running to and fro between the front and the back rooms to witness the beautiful display. All were set off by the neighbours. I expect here in The Hague would not be much different.
In the Netherlands, long time ago there used to be a tradition of holding feasts and lighting special fires in the darkest part of winter. These are reflected in luxury meals served during this time of the year and the fireworks and bonfires lit on the evening of December 31 until the early hours of January 1. There is also the tradition of eating food which contain a lot of fat or oil, such as oliebollen and appelflappen. The story goes back to the time of the pre-Christian Germanic goddess Perchta (Bertha). People believed that Perchta would fly across the sky with evil spirits in the darkest part of winter and try to cut open the stomachs of anybody she met. However, her knife would slide off the people who had been eating fatty food :D
To my dear family and friends (personal and bloggers alike) I wish you HAPPY NEW YEAR. May you and us here, be always blessed, become a better Muslim, have good fortune and excellent health in the coming year, insyaAllah.