More Bang For Your Luck!
BANG! Multiply that by a million. What’s the answer (besides the obvious “a million bangs”)? It’s Taiwan breaking the world record as it concluded the 15-day celebration of the Chinese New Year on Sunday!
An 8.1-mile string of firecrackers was ignited in southern Taiwan as the festivities drew to a close. It was expected to take two whole hours before the string’s crackling fire completely burned off. That is one long multitude of bangs. The previous record was held by Spain with a string that measured seven miles long. Now, all that’s required in order to cement the new record is the verification by the officials at Guinness World Records. Sigh, bureaucracy and details.
Anyway, it’s fitting that Taiwan holds this new record now. After all, firecrackers and most importantly, the gunpowder in them, did originate from the Chinese. Firecrackers have long been integral to Chinese festivities. Because of the fire and cacophony they produce, firecrackers are believed to repel evil spirits. Once they have been repelled, wealth and good fortune would consequently arrive.
I remember the times when my dad took me to Chinatown to join in the Chinese New Year celebrations. My favourite sights were always the lion dances and the ignition of the firecrackers at their finale. The pounding and crashing of the drum and cymbals, the crackles and acrid smell of the firecrackers, the flashing colours and sinuous forms of the lions – they all set my blood on fire. At those moments, it felt as if some part of everyone standing there had leapt out and joined in the dance seamlessly as one. It was very surreal.
Mui Fa Jong – one of the highest forms of lion dancing
Anyway, enough nostalgia…back to Taiwan and its new world record. I must say, with this incredible string of firecrackers, the people of southern Taiwan are definitely going to have piles – no, mountains – of luck heading their way. Gong xi fa cai!