Around the world fireworks are known and much loved. Cuzco is no different. When feasts such as Cruz Velakuy, Christmas, and New Years approach people, and especially children, love to play with these bursts of light, color, and sound. They like it even more when they make them.
One week before Christmas several streets of the city of Cuzco turn into markets for these pyrotechnic products. Their sale is actually quite a large business since many people go to these markets to make their purchases and see what is newly produced for this year.
The products begin fom the most inoffensive to those which can cause serious harm. They are both produced locally, nationally, and are imported. It is important to emphasize that one should exercise proper caution when buying these products to make sure they are legal and properly made. The more powerful the firework, especially those that make beautiful figures high in the sky, the more dangerous they are without proper use.
Peru regulates fireworks and every year publishes much information and warnings to its people on where they can buy good fireworks and on how to use them well. And, every year there are problems. In Lima this Christmas Eve there were numerous house fires due to fireworks, mostly from them landing on roofs, while in the area of Sullana, Piura in Peru’s far north more than 90 homes were destroyed. In Cuzco’s region a 19 year old man lost an eye and is in serious condition from putting his face close to a firework to see why it was not exploding. Just then it did and he was severely wounded.
Because of these dangers my father likes to buy what we call Bengal Lights, or sparklers. These are inoffensive. He has us stand before the manger scene and light them at midnight on Christmas Eve, when Christmas arrives.
People like to put together a series of frames of cane for fireworks to make designs and thereby enchant people with their art. They add their creativity to that of the pre-made fireworks and make impressive designs.
The different forms and colors please people and delight children when midnight arrives on Christmas Eve or on New Years. At the exact moment when time changes the fireworks begin to explode throughout the city and light takes us the sky as people light the fireworks to have joy in these feasts.
Fireworks are an important component of celebrating these feasts with their explosions of sound and light. Enjoy them but be careful, especially if you are with children. Happy New Year.