New Year's is the big holiday here in the former Soviet Union. It is celebrated with lit and decorated evergreens, Grandfather Frost, gifts, festive foods and, perhaps most importantly, fireworks.
While it seems that Georgians believe that any night is a good night to set off a Roman candle, the firework frequency increased significantly the last week in December. We spent New Year's Eve with some friends, and the guys decided that they needed to be part of the fun. So last night around 8 p.m., we set off our own fireworks.
We spent the rest of the evening playing games and eating brownies, but these old fogeys were in bed by 11. About 45 minutes later I was awakened by what sounded like a heavy rainstorm, complete with occasional pops of thunder. In fact, it was a hail of smaller fireworks being set off simultaneously all over the city, punctuated by the occasional larger blast. I'm sure some of the fireworks were government-sponsored, but most were probably just private displays for family and friends. This was the view from our upstairs balcony:
It lasted about 20 minutes and then, like when you pop corn, the pops came slower until they finally died out altogether (I assume ... they were still going when I dozed off again).
Happy New Year!