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Chinese New Year in Lashio goes off this year without a bang

Myitmakha News Agency

Lashio, February 8 – the sound of firecrackers is distinctly absent during this Chinese New Year in the northern Shan State town of Lashio after sellers of the products were arrested by police during last’s years celebrations, according to locals.

“We made a big profit from the selling firecrackers, but we haven’t been allowed to sell them since last year. We lost about half a million kyats last year. If we sell them back, we could be arrested by policemen. Therefore, I’m just selling fruit this year,” said U Arr Kyal, a former firecracker seller.

Although Chinese usually celebrate the auspicious event by playing with firecrackers during Chinese New Year, the selling of firecrackers has been prohibited since 2015 when sellers were arrested and their wears destroyed.

“The selling of firecrackers is prohibited. At the moment, security guards are constantly checking around market. If we spot anyone engaging in the sale of firecrackers then we immediately confiscate them, although we haven’t caught anyone selling them so far this year. There were a lot of sellers last year. The fact that the selling of firecrackers was prohibited last year, might be the reason no one is selling them this year,” said U Kyaw, a staff from the Lashio Market.

He added, “Chinese New Year celebrations are held for three days between February 8-10. However, no one’s throwing firecrackers as there are none to buy”.

“To be honest, I feel bad that firecrackers have been prohibited as it’s rather a good traditional of Chinese Myanmar citizens,” said a resident of Lashio, U Rantar Kyan.

Chinese Myanmar people are also abstaining from playing with firecrackers during this Chinese New Year due to the current unstable political situation in the country, and for want of not causing worry of disturbances to internally displace people who have fled armed conflict, for fear they would mistake the sounds of firecrackers for artillery fire.

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