On the event of the 88th National Day in Saudi Arabia, what better way to celebrate than to try to beat the current Guinness World Record of the most fireworks launched. This was set in Inglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in the Philippines on 1st January 2016 when they used a staggering 810,000 fireworks which lasted for over an hour, despite the torrential rain.
Over in Saudi, they set off 900,000 fireworks in just 18 minutes, but it was not only the amount of pyro making heads turn as 300 drones created the largest ever National Flag which was a staggering 400 x 300 metres using lasers mounted on drones.
The pyrotechnics were set up from 58 platforms across 20 Cities in Saudi on Sunday Night ably set up by an incredible 1200 crew members from all over the World including some very fortunate professional firers from the UK.
A stunning display and a beautiful use of drones which just added to the joy of the event.
The 1st of August sees the good people of Switzerland celebrating in the usual way with sausages, red and white adornments and of course BEAUTIFUL FIREWORKS.
The date comes from 1291, when the people of three alpine cantons (think – counties) swore an oath of confederation; these were Schwiz, Uri & Nidwald forming what we now know as Switzerland.
The Swiss love their fireworks, especially when the huge bursting fireworks reflect on the snow associated with the stunning alpine scenery giving the whole backdrop a beautiful glow of crisp bright colours. This year however, the Swiss are basking in a heatwave with temperatures hitting 38 degrees, which is a real scorcher for the high altitude region, which would normally expected to average around 25 degrees at this time of year. This being the case the cautious Swiss government has imposed firework restrictions in six cantons or areas to prevent wildfires. The affected areas are Basel-Stadt, Solothurn, Vaus, Valais and Grissons with Schaffhausen having a ban of open fires in place for now.
On the 1st of August, a National Holiday, the Swiss kick back and relax watching paper lantern parades, sit around a huge bonfire watching fireworks or take part in the many rifle and crossbow shooting competitions and in honour of William Tell.
The story goes that in 1307, Albrecht Gessler, the local overlord; hung his hat on the top of the town of Uri’s flag pole demanding that all the townsfolk bow to the hat. However, on the 18th of November 1307, William and his son Walter visited the town but refused to ‘bow to the hat’ and were arrested. Gessler had heard of William’s fabled skill with a crossbow and devised a cruel punishment; both would be put to death, or they could redeem themselves if William would shoot an apple off his son’s head in one shot – which he did!! When asked why he had removed two bolts from his quiver he told Gessler if he had hit Walter the second was for him!
At this point Gessler arrested William and instructed the guards to take him to Kussnacht castle by boat. While on route to the Castle, a huge storm arose. The guards, fearing for their lives, untied William so he could help steer the boat with his great strength. No sooner had they relieved him of his chains, William jumped overboard to escape. Of course, as mentioned, Tell was still holding the second bolt and later killed the imbecile Gessler for his troubles.
Whilst fireworks are restricted in six cantons, this still leaves twenty without restrictions where fireworks can be used freely if you have purchased a licence. For the more powerful (cat 4) public display fireworks a week’s course (plus exam pass) must have been completed with a fee of 5000 Swiss francs or £3500 for Cat 3 (1.3 &1.4) fireworks a permit of 500 francs will suffice.
The biggest displays across Switzerland will be in Zurich, Geneva and Lugano with the main Swiss National day celebration fireworks at The Rhine Fall’s in Schaffhausen – weather permitting of course.
Annually, a huge fireworks display usually takes placed for National Day on 1st October in Hong Kong but this year, it has been cancelled due to the throngs of protesters who have set up camp in the City.
The Peoples Republic of China was founded in 1949 and has celebrated annually with a number of parades, festivals and of course fireworks so it is a shame that this year, the skies will remain dark.
The protesters who are fighting for a full democracy have been blocking roads in and out of the City, thus affecting the transport services and the government has asked the crowds to leave and allow the way for emergency vehicles and transport services to resume.
The government, in an attempt to pacify the protesters, has told riot police to leave them alone but they are also preventing images being shared about their grievances as they completely blocked access to Instagram in mainland China adding further indignation to the already tense situation.
The situation in Hong Kong came to a head on the back of Beijing’s decision to reject open nominations for candidates to become Hong Kong’s leader in favour of their using a committee of ‘like minded individuals’ who will hand-pick the candidates on the ‘patriotism they show to China’ which basically is short for ‘someone who will do as they are told!’ This added to the antagonism in the area where the people remain fearful that they will ever have a democracy.