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Fireworks Are Allowed Again in Vietnam, Though They Must Be 'Non-Explosive'

Beginning on January 11, 2021, people will be permitted to use certain types of fireworks.

Decree No. 137, issued on November 28, relaxes the rules on fireworks and firecrackers, the private use of which had been banned since 1994. Now institutions, organizations, individuals over the age of 18, and enterprises will be allowed to light fireworks during public holidays including Tet and Hung King's Day, as well as on special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, conferences, grand openings, anniversaries, and other cultural activities. 

However, the decree specified that only "non-explosive" fireworks and firecrackers that produce sound, light and color, are allowed, while "explosive sounds" are not approved. Sparklers were cited as one acceptable item, while those that shoot into the sky and explode remain illegal.

The fireworks can only be purchased from authorized factories and businesses, while the unauthorized production, sale, transportation, storage, import or export of any variety of fireworks is illegal. 

Colonel Vũ Minh Hùng of the Department for Administration of Social Order under the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), explained: "The classification will enable authorized agencies to better manage fireworks and sparklers as well as impose proper punishments on violators of the firecracker ban... The new decree is aimed to boost state management rather than to encourage the use of sparklers."

Despite the 1994 ban, people routinely use fireworks in celebrations without permission, resulting in significant numbers of accidents, injuries and deaths, with estimated losses reaching several dozen billion VND annually. People have long debated the ban, weighing the role firecrackers play in holiday traditions against the dangers they pose.

[Photo via Flickr user Viet Phi]

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