None of the eight regional capitals in Slovakia will welcome the New Year with huge festivities, while cities in general have been gradually breaking away from the tradition of large fireworks. The interest in fireworks first started stagnating after the lethal gas explosion in Prešov in 2019, and has been further declining during the coronavirus pandemic, the Sme daily wrote.
The list of cities planning massive New Year’s celebrations has shrunk over the last few weeks. Bratislava, Nitra, Trnava, Hlohovec, Trenčín, Poprad, Košice, Žilina, Prešov as well as Stará Turá, Pezinok, Zvolen, Moldava and Trenčianske Teplice – have scrapped fireworks, mostly addressed by the Union of Cities of Slovakia and animal ombudswoman. Instead they will support culture, schools or animal shelters.
Fireworks were planned in Nováky, but its mayor decided to buy a town defibrillator instead.
Trenčín, which is 55 km from Nováky, has been already several years without fireworks.
“The reason is tolerance towards people, animals and the environment,” Erika Ságová, spokesperson of Trenčín, told Sme, adding that the regional capital cancelled the loud event a few years ago.
Zvolen will also not ignite fireworks as they try to avoid unnecessary discharges of harmful substances into the air and soil.
Due to the continuing pandemic, neither will Bratislava and Trnava organise fireworks. They do not want to create opportunities for people to gather.
“The primary role of the city in this situation is to protect the health of the population,” said Bratislava spokesperson Katarína Rajčanová. “Welcoming the New Year is usually an event where a large number of people gather in various places, and the city will not have the opportunity and capacity to manage such a crowd according to the valid rules of the Covid automat alert system,” said Rajčanová.
Bratislava had scrapped New Year’s celebrations last year due to the pandemic. Contrary to this, the Slovak army will fire 20 artillery volleys from the Danube embankment in Bratislava on New Year’s Day to mark the 29th anniversary of the Slovak Republic and independent Slovak Armed Forces. The tradition will thus return after a year’s hiatus. No firing of volleys took place at the beginning of this year due to the pandemic.
The Union of Slovak Cities (ÚMS), in cooperation with the animal ombudsman, is trying to prevent firework noise. Košice joined the initiative as well and completely cancelled its New Year’s Eve programme.
But eastern cities want to maintain some of the usual grandeur: Prešov has prepared a laser show and Košice a fire-show. The town of Partizánske will present fireworks, but at 19:00 due to the pandemic measures – and financed by mayor and councilors from their own pockets, while the city cultural agency will give €800.
Citizens can fire up their own pyrotechnics, if not against local regulations. For example, this activity is banned completely in the Slovak capital.
In general, exploding petards and illuminating rockets is only allowed on December 31 and January 1. In case of violations, the police can impose a fine of up to €500.