Spenden statt Böllern/Donations instead of fireworks

Photographed at London Stansted airport on December 28th:


Does this mean fireworks? But surely they aren’t allowed on the other side either, most of the time?

A couple of days ago, Gerhard Schröder and Joschka Fischer suggested to the Germans that they should donate money to help those affected by the Asian tsunami instead of on fireworks: Spenden statt Böllern. Böller is a colloquial word for (noisy) fireworks); böllern usually means firing a gun noisily, but here it means letting off fireworks. Report:

bq. The German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, and the Austrian chancellor, Wolfgang Schuessel, on Wednesday called on their citizens to donate to relief for the Asian disaster rather than spend money on traditional New Year’s fireworks.

After that it seemed as if letting off fireworks meant you hadn’t donated. And fireworks manufacturers are part of the economy too – why should they be the ones to lose sales? So some people are saying they’re doing both: ‘Böllern und Spenden – ich mache beides’.

Or you could have a silent festival of light like the one at Nankendorf:

bq. Traditionell gefeiert wird heute noch in einigen Regionen Deutschlands. In Nankendorf (Fränkische Schweiz) etwa ist Silvester das katholische Fest der ewigen Anbetung, das man mit einer Lichterprozession, brennenden Holzstößen, bengalischen Leuchtfeuern und elektrisch beleuchteten Kreuzen auf Berghängen begeht.

Is this Catholic festival related to the bonfires in Louisiana? Seemingly not, because that comes before Christmas.

Mind you, I just watch fireworks. No Bleigießen this year, only Bibelstechen.

4 thoughts on “Spenden statt Böllern/Donations instead of fireworks

  1. I believe Christmas crackers are what’s meant. They make a pop, but they’re not explosives. Jittery airport employees would definitely not like it, I assume, if lots of people were carrying things around that made a loud bang (like popping a blown-up paper bag) in a secure area. I think that’s hilarious, BTW.

    Check out this website for more info.

  2. Yes, you must be right – ridiculous. Here is the story:

    People flying from Stansted airport over the festive season are being warned to leave their Christmas crackers at home to avoid sparking a security alert.

    Crackers may have been allowed in the airport in previous years, but this Christmas officials say they’d rather people didn’t take them on holiday.

    They say the loud bangs could prompt a bomb scare and also that crackers often contain penknives and scissors which are of course banned from hand luggage.

  3. There are two villages in Scotland in which the evil spirits are still driven out with torch-lit processions on Hogmanay – Stonehaven which boasts fireball procession in which approx. 60 flaming orbs are swung through the streets – and Comrie, Perthshire, which favours a more modest version of regular torches. At the end of the ceremony the torches are flung into the river Earn. The Comrie tradition is called the Flambeaux.

  4. Interesting, and gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘swingers’:

    ‘The fireballs, which are made by the swingers, comprise every kind of combustible and oily waste, held together in a case of wire netting varying in size of a football to one twice as big and weighing up to 20 pounds. These are attached to the end of skilfully wielded ropes and make an impressive sight as over 60 swingers , (who must all reside in the Burgh) march up and down the street from the Mercat Cross to the Police Station, swinging them round their heads to speed the Old Year on its way and to herald in the New.’


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