We are advancing toward the 31st of December in Germany, and that means that fireworks are on sale. There are ten general things to remember about this.
1. Personal use of fireworks are authorized only on the evening of the 31st of December. At no time for the remaining 364 days of the year.....can you light fireworks up....unless it's a city-sponsored or state-sponsored event and done by a professional team.
2. About three work days prior to the 31st.....groceries across Germany will open and have various selections of fireworks on sale. No roadside stands like you'd see in the US.
3. Saving fireworks from this sale and using them in March or May? Don't think about it. If you bring some out and fire them off in July.....your neighbor will likely call the cops and you get a visit. There are various state laws on the books where they could charge you with some minor law violation.
4. Generally, with only a few small exceptions.....you have to be sixteen years old to buy any fireworks. Groceries are pretty particular about this and will ask for an ID if you appear to be under sixteen.
5. The official time for fireworks use on the 31st? Generally, it's a minute before midnight of the 31st, and for the next hour or two.
6. If you stand in the middle of a 10,000 resident town....usually within ten minutes of midnight passing....you start to hear a firetruck somewhere in the distance. Fires start up at a higher rate during this time period.
7. The walking wounded.....are the biggest issue on the morning of the 1st of January. Emergency rooms expect a dozen-odd people to stroll in with various fireworks injuries.
8. The 'BIG' explosives like you'd buy in the US? Well....it doesn't sell in Germany unless you are buying off some illegal sales guy.
9. Clean-up. By mid-day on the 1st of January, you will typically notice Germans out in the yard or in the street....cleaning up. It's a Germany thing....ensuring the tidiness and order of their living area.
10. The deal behind the fireworks? If you go back in German history....it was to chase off the evil spirits. If you made enough noise.....they left. It's a tradition left over from roughly a thousand years ago in Germany.