We drove around in small and convoluted roads and there weren't many people around us. First stop was a small lake. My mate took out a bag and emptied the whole thing onto the lake, on closer look I figured out that they were ashes from burnt paper. I was baffled as why would anyone do this at all as it's environmentally destructive but I held my piece. He explained to me that the ashes came from burnt offering papers and the act itself signifies letting go troubles you had during the last year as ashes returning to the sea, pieces by pieces. Hopefully, troubles themselves will be fewer and so the ashes are fewer as well. This is not superstition but rather more like customs.
When all were done, we hurriedly got on the bike and en route to the fireworks point which is rather far away. Fuel was running low, time was ticking as well. We had doubt whether we can actually watch the fireworks at all. And then we hit a traffic jam at an intersection. We're doomed I thought. For some reasons there were many people parked on the sides of the roads and they had no intention of moving at all. The people on the streets could not move because of the traffic jam ahead, they were all honking and talking loudly. This plus the overwhelming smells of burn gasoline irritated me.
And then, people stopped honking, stopped talking, stopped their vehicle altogether. Turned out, near that intersection there was a fireworks firing point too and people on the sideroads gathered there to watch it. People on the streets stopped what they were doing as the first fireworks flew into the air. They parked in the middle of the roads and began watching the fireworks display as the clock hit 00:00. Everything calmed down, no more vehicle noise, no more gasoline smells, no more honking, there were only the loud thumps from the explosions inside my chest and the oohhhs the aaahhhs of fellow fireworks watcher. It amazed me actually, they dropped whatever they were doing and just stood there in the middle of the intersection watching fireworks. I bet the traffic jam line grew much much longer because of this but who cares, as long as they can watch the fireworks right now in this very new year at this very intersection, that's alright. The fireworks lasted 15 minutes after which people resumed their honking and talking and started moving. We started our bike and began heading home too.
On the way, my mate bought a long sugar cane (around 2.5m) as new year's gift to his family. This gift signifies bringing growth to the receiver. The first person that went into the house itself is important too and not just anyone can go in. That person needs to be of good character, compatible with the zodiac signs of the head of house and in their youth too. Only then that person can be the first guest of the year to that family. Coincidently this year my mate can do this as he ticks all the boxes. I followed him second and celebrated the occasion with his family. I went home with a full belly, a full mind and a totally silent neighbour. Cheers!
Please excuse my crappy iPhone picture. It's the best I could do.