Happy New Year!

Return to issue

Happy New Year!

by John Shelton Reed
Southern Cultures, Vol. 2, No. 3/4: 1996

"Examining the persistence of a pyrotechnic custom."

Like the Chinese, southerners have long been inclined to welcome the New Year with fireworks or, lacking those, with gunfire. When the Southern Focus Poll asked, “Have you ever set off fireworks or fired a gun to celebrate New Year’s Eve?” 60 percent of native southerners acknowledged having set off fireworks and 15 percent said they had shot guns; among native nonsoutherners, the numbers were 24 percent and 6 percent, respectively.