Have you ever tried to celebrate New Year’s Eve in America? Ok, my experience is limited to Maine, but Maine doesn’t seem to be that different from the rest of the country, at least in that respect. There are hardly any fireworks on New Year’s Eve. You can find them sometimes, but usually they’re only small ones and you really have to look for it. No comparison to what I was used to in Berlin.
In Berlin, as soon as it’s getting dark on December 31st, people start to scare pedestrians by throwing little firecrackers between their legs. I agree, it’s not a very nice custom but it is part of that day’s tradition. At midnight the real thing starts. For hours the sky above Berlin is illuminated by the most beautiful fireworks you can think of. There are the big fireworks sponsored by the city, federal government, and businesses. And then there are all the people who shoot their rockets from their balconies and from the street to the sky.
In Maine the sky stays quiet and dark and most people go to bed at 10 pm. And why should they stay up longer? There is no reason for them to stay up until midnight if nothing happens then.
It is really weird for me not to do something special that night and not to stay up until early morning of January 1st.
But I found a way to fill at least part of this void: The 4th of July.
In the US people plan parties for that evening. They either have cookouts at home or their friend’s house or they meet friends for a picnic. People truly celebrate that day and cities, towns, and communities offer free open air concerts and fireworks everywhere.
Andrew and I went to the Eastern Prom in Portland, as we do it every year, and sat down between thousands of other people. We brought our foldable chairs and watched the sun go down over the ocean, listened to a classical concert, and were waiting for the big fireworks. And they came. It was huge and grand and beautiful again.
I love fireworks and I miss it in December. I will always miss it. It’s how I grew up. But at least I will get my dose of fireworks once a year on 4th of July.