The big bang: Yucatán divided over holiday fireworks

The aftermath of a 2016 pyrotechnics explosion in San Pablito Market in Tultepec, north of Mexico City. Photo: Creative Commons

Controversy has surrounded the decision by Yucatán’s state government to award 340 permits for the sale of pyrotechnics during the holiday season.

While many have argued on social media that the use of pyrotechnics is a fun tradition, others have expressed their discontent arguing that the dangers and noise caused by such explosives far outweigh peoples right to a “good time.”

In theory, the production and sale of any explosives in Mexico is tightly regulated. But tragedies involving explosions at clandestine factories has become a predictable yearly occurrence. According to the newspaper El Universal, 241 people in Mexico lost their lives and another 894 were injured in accidents involving pyrotechnics from 2013 to 2018.

Pyrotechnic devices in Mexico are usually one of two types: fireworks designed to be shot upwards and explode in the sky and firecrackers such as petardos and palomas, intended to be thrown by hand. The latter are made by compressing small amounts of gunpowder into a tightly wrapped vessel made of newspaper or rope. They are known to be capable of causing severe injuries, particularly when exploding near someone’s hands or face.

Many in the city of Kanasín have decried the decision to continue to allow the use of pyrotechnics, noting the accident on Dec. 21, 2019, which killed one person and gravely injured three children.

Related: Keeping your dog calm when the fireworks go off

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.