From Saturday until New Year's Eve, fireworks will be sold throughout Germany. But as warnings over safety and pollution intensify, are fireworks still a big part of German culture at Silvester?
Anyone who has spent 'Silvester' (New Year's Eve) in Germany will know that locals love throwing firecrackers and setting off rockets from wine bottles on the street.
And now a new poll has found the majority of Germans are in favour of putting a stop to fireworks at Silvester.
A total of 57 percent of respondents to a poll by the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) said fireworks should be banned on New Year's Eve for environmental and safety reasons. 36 percent are against this measure, while seven percent are undecided.
However, many people said they enjoy seeing the colourful displays in the sky as people celebrate the New Year. A total of 84 percent of those interviewed said that fireworks are beautiful to look at. Almost half (49 percent) also say letting off fireworks is a social activity.
YouGov polled around 2,000 people earlier this month for the survey.
At least 30 cities and municipalities in Germany, including Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne, have issued a partial or even complete ban in certain areas on firecrackers for the coming New Year's Eve.
Mixed feelings about fireworks
Yet a separate poll by YouGov on behalf of DPA found despite the debates and bans, fireworks remain an integral part of New Year celebrations for the majority of Germans.
'Nearly 60 percent of respondents closely associate fireworks with Silvester celebrations. Germans do, however, see the downsides – three quarters of those surveyed are aware that letting off rockets and firecrackers are bad for the environment.
The noise and cost of fireworks also cloud the fun of the them, the representative survey found.
Seven out of 10 respondents think fireworks are too expensive, and the loud noise when they are let off disturbs 43 percent.
Meanwhile, more than three quarters of those surveyed see them as risky: a massive 79 percent of Germans believe fireworks are dangerous. Among women the proportion is even higher -- at 84 percent.
Sale of fireworks begins this weekend
The sale of rockets and firecrackers will begin in Germany this Saturday. Whereas small fireworks can be sold to people in Germany all year round, stores are only allowed to sell larger fireworks – the kind you're likely to set off on Silvester – on the last three working days of the year.
The rest of the year you can only get them from certain licensed sellers.
This year the Association of the Pyrotechnic Industry expects a turnover of €133 million – about the same amount as last year.
According to the survey, however, only 27 percent of Germans actually ignite fireworks themselves on New Year's Eve.
Just 12 percent do it every year and 14 percent do it occasionally. For the majority (70 percent), igniting fireworks is a taboo. A total of 37 percent of those surveyed have never lit fireworks before.
According to a DPA survey in November, the attempt by environmentalists to ban fireworks from Germany's city centres has so far had no major consequences. The German Environmental Aid (DUH) has called on the federal government to facilitate municipal bans on fireworks by amending the Explosives Ordinance and the Federal Emission Control Act.
More than 2,000 people were interviewed for the DPA survey between the end of November and start of December this year.