Easter firecrackers a thing of the past

The time-honoured Swedish Easter tradition of youths setting off firecrackers in the streets is dying out, following a ban on the noisy fireworks. But kids have not tired of launching 'Easter Rockets', and they're as dangerous as ever.

Up to 150 people in Sweden are injured by fireworks every year, and Easter is one of the most popular times for launching them. And while there are set to be plenty of fireworks this weekend, there are likely to be few of the loud bangs many Swedes are used to.

“Since the ban on firecrackers was introduced a few years ago, they have been very few and far between,” said fireworks expert Shulin Nie at the Swedish Rescue Services Agency (Räddningsverket).

Following the introduction of the ban in 2001 there were reports that firecrackers were being smuggled into Sweden, but Nie says that this phenomenon has fizzled out.

Other types of firework, including rockets, are still sold legally in Sweden, and interest in firing them skywards at Easter has not faded. The pastime is particularly popular in the south of the country. Of the 100-150 people that police statistics show are hurt every year, most suffer hand or eye injuries.

One of the main reasons for injuries is impatience:

“Many people go up to rockets when they believe that the fuse has gone out, and they get an explosion in the face,” says Nie.

In 2001, Sweden raised that age at which people are allowed to buy fireworks from 15 to 18. Many firework accidents involve the under 18s.

TT/The Local