How to celebrate the New Year without losing a finger

How to celebrate the New Year without losing a finger

Here's our handy guide to the best fireworks, and the most dangerous, that you'll need to make the New Year festivities go off with a bang
Fireworks
Start the Chinese New Year with a bang with tips from Shanghai's fireworks vendors.

Chinese New Year is almost upon us, and that means bangs, explosions, booms and fizzes. Fireworks in Shanghai represent the cleansing of homes of evil spirits. But they're also just about having fun. And you can find them everywhere. "We open on February 1,” says Ms Ma of her roadside fireworks store, “and we stay open until Chinese New Year ends. After the New Year there’s no real reason to buy fireworks, so we’re closed by March." (486 Wuyi Lu, near Dingxi Lu 武夷路486号, 近定西路)

But don't hang around. While they're a dime a dozen at the moment, the best fireworks get snapped up quickly. “We are one of the few licensed firework dealers, so we can get all the new inventory," Lu Yang explains. "But it’ll be gone by about mid-February, you can be sure of that. If you want something good, buy it now.” (Sui Yuan Tang (随缘堂), 219 Longhua Xi Lu 龙华西路219号, +86 21 6456 2819, +86 130 2328 9330)

So we hit the streets to talk to some of the best Shanghai fireworks vendors, and made a handy Finger Safety Rating (0 = good for kids, 10 = say goodbye to your thumb) to ensure a safe time is had by all. 

 

Shanghai fireworks 1“We display some smaller items up front, but most of the good stuff is in the back room,” says Ms Huang. “The large 100-shot display costs about RMB 500, but the smaller displays are RMB 30-80 depending on size. They’re pretty safe.”
Fo Yuan Ge (佛缘阁), 2925 Longhua Lu, 龙华路2925号, +86 21 6456 4882, +86 139 0189 8329

Shanghai fireworks finger safety rating: 4


 

 

Shanghai fireworks 2"Bian pao (firecrackers) and gao sheng (two-shot tubes that produce a loud bang high in the sky) are necessary over the New Year,” says owner, Yan Jinlian. “Both have a long history and are used to mark festive occasions and scare away bad spirits.” Gao sheng are RMB 12 for eight tubes. Firecrackers are RMB 40 for 1,000. The better brands are Man Dihong and Da Dihong.
Fu Yuan Lang (福缘堂), 111 Longhua Xi Lu, 龙华西路111号, +86 21 5491 0299, +86 137 6192 7993

Shanghai fireworks finger safety rating: 6 for firecrackers, 8 for gao sheng

 

Shanghai fireworks sparklers“Big fireworks are called ‘yan hua’ and small fireworks are ‘peng hua’," explains Ms Huang. “Children play with ‘anquan peng huo’ which are safer.” They’re also cheaper, at RMB 8 for a small fountain and RMB 20 for 200 sparklers.
Fo Yuan Ge (佛缘阁), 2925 Longhua Lu, 龙华路2925号, +86 21 6456 4882, +86 139 0189 8329

Shanghai fireworks finger safety rating: 2 for sparklers, 3 for fountains

 

 

 

Shanghai fireworks stockpileRanging from RMB 50-300, these large fountains are placed on the ground and spray multi-color crackles and willow-bursts into the air. “They are more beautiful than dangerous,” says Lu Yang. “Nowadays there are many different colors.”
Sui Yuan Tang (随缘堂), 219 Longhua Xi Lu 龙华西路219号, +86 21 6456 2819, +86 130 2328 9330

Shanghai fireworks finger safety rating: 4

 

 

 

Shanghai fireworks drums“These fireworks don’t just look like drums,” says Lu Yang. “They sound like them, too. They’re new this year and very cool. I expect them to sell quickly.” These fireworks are placed on the ground and contain a large amount of explosive powder. Light and run.
Sui Yuan Tang (随缘堂), 219 Longhua Xi Lu 龙华西路219号, +86 21 6456 2819, +86 130 2328 9330

Shanghai fireworks finger safety rating: 8

 

 

 

Shanghai fireworks pile“Repeater fireworks are outstanding,” Lu Yang smiles. “They explode high in the air with a beautiful burst, just like in the movies.” These repeater cubes have 10-20 shots per cube with flashing stars, strobes, crackling and high-sky breaks.
Sui Yuan Tang (随缘堂), 219 Longhua Xi Lu 龙华西路219号, +86 21 6456 2819, +86 130 2328 9330

Shanghai fireworks finger safety rating: 6


Editor's Note: Just to state the obvious, fireworks can be dangerous and cause bodily harm if not handled correctly. Exercise caution when using fireworks and always handle them with care and in accordance with manufacturer's directions. Nothing ruins a Chinese New Year celebration like a trip to the ER.
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