A bamboo cannon: New Year’s 2009

First, Happy New Year 2009, or as we say in Hawaii: Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! Those of you who know New Year’s Eves in Hawaii will smile, while those of you who haven’t ever had the pleasure can’t imagine the noise and smoke of the fireworks, plus the enjoyment of the grindz — the food — and fun as families or even whole streets, especially in places like Laie, put picnic tables under easy-up awnings and go at the excitement of burning off thousands of dollars of fireworks. Some Laie families are well-known for their annual New Year’s Eve street parties.

Again, for those not familiar with Oahu, firecrackers up to a certain modest length and quantity are legal (with a permit, from licensed vendors), while almost every store sells the usual fireworks — sparklers, cones, spinners, pop-pops, etc., etc. But the legal limits have never stopped illegal pyrotechnics that also invade the community every year, including window-shaking aerial bombs, bursts and various rockets.

Amid all of this for the first time last night I noticed another noisemaker I hadn’t seen for many years: A Samoan fana ‘ofe or bamboo cannon. [Read more…]