New Year is celebrated in lots of different ways throughout the world.
Here in the Netherlands, the emphasis lies heavily on fireworks – the Dutch people love them – lots and lots and lots of them!
Melkbus Schieten (Milk Churn Shooting)
I live in the north of Holland where there is the additional tradition of ‘Melkbus Schieten’ (milk churn shooting) all the youth in the area congregate in large groups to set of fireworks and shoot their milk churns.
The churns are filled with carbide which is then dampened and closed with a lid or a football. It is then lit. This results in an explosion which shoots the lid or ball off and causes an ear deafening bang which even makes the windows rattle in near by houses.
This is a real sport amongst the youth who compete to get the best bang, sometimes they even stack them or set them of in a row causing a huge racket.
Dutch New Year – Fireworks
In addition to the milk churns dads and kids play the whole evening with fireworks. I find it terrifying that children of 5 and 6 walk around with lighters in their pockets setting off little fire crackers.
I must say though on the stroke of twelve it is a really impressive sight to behold as often every other household sets off their fireworks. The sky lights up with a breathtaking display of light and colour.
Then the streets slowly empty and everyone goes home.
But not by my house …..
British New Year
I then make all my guests celebrate the ‘Real New Year’ an hour later, together with the BBC tuned in on the television and the sound of ‘Big Ben’ chiming in the background.
I get lots of funny looks and end up looking like a total nut as I try to make everyone sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ whilst jumping up and down …