New Year's Day fireworks to be quieter

Standard fireworks will be used but the show may be a bit different

Prague's traditional firework's display will take place Jan. 1 at 6 pm from Letná, using standard fireworks but fewer large and high ones. The city discussed using silent fireworks but found the idea to be unfeasible. Noise from the fireworks disturbs not only pets but also wildlife such as swans.

Silent fireworks are designed for use by smaller groups of people, such as for garden parties or in closed spaces and would not work for a big show, City Hall concluded after discussing the idea.

The City Council wants to give the company that stages the show the opportunity to reduce the amount of loud explosions and high flying rockets. Instead of more low rockets should be used, which are more visible even in bad weather. The fireworks will cost around Kč 1 million without VAT.

While many countries have fireworks at midnight on Dec. 31 / Jan. 1 to mark the new year, the Prague fireworks display is at 6 pm on Jan 1 to mark Czech Independence Day, when the Czech Republic split for Slovakia in 1993. The early hour is already dark, and it ensures families with children can see the show.

The show generally lasts about 10 minutes and has a theme told in several vignettes using different colors. The pyrotechnics are synchronized to music on the radio.

Due to concerns over noise, the show has moved several times. Initially, the pyrotechnics were launched from Střelecký ostrov but then due to concerns over swans injuring themselves, the show was moved to Letná park. Dog owners in that area complained that the park was closed all day and also that the noise disturbed their dogs, who have acute hearing. Two years ago the display was launched from Vítkov Hill in Prague 3, which is used less by dog walkers and is a bit more isolated. But people complained that the show was hard to see, especially from the city center.

Last year it moved back to Letná but visibility was very poor due to foggy weather.

New Year's Day is now one of the few times that fireworks can be launched in the city center. A regulation now limits the use of any fireworks in the historical center and near the waterfront. Fireworks are no longer be allowed in the historical center within 50 meters of the Vltava river and on its islands and within 250 meters of inpatient medical facilities and places that care for the elderly and disabled.

In addition to New Year's Eve, large fireworks shows will be allowed on Easter (which falls between March 22 and April 25), Christmas (Dec. 24) and Jan Hus Day (July 6). There is also an exception for May 15, when there is a celebration on the Vltava called Navalis for Sv. Jan Nepomuk that ends in fireworks.

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