With firecrackers with names like Judas’ Belt, Super Lolo Thunder (Super Grandfather Thunder,) Whistle Bomb and Crying Cow, one can’t be blamed for thinking that Filipinos have a hard on for explosives (or a penchant for random word combinations.)
Which might explain the 346 firecracker-related injuries recorded by the Department of Health during the New Year revelry last night. Except most of those injuries were caused by a firecracker that was about as loud as a capgun. Gunpowder came into it, sure, but as with many things, it’s not the the size of the payload, but how you use it.
Initially imported or smuggled from Europe, Piccolos are now being made by the Bulacan firecracker industry, with as much quality control and safety-firstness as that implies.
The DOH reports that most firecracker-related injuries during the holiday season involved Piccolos.
Basically, they’re self-lighting (with your help and encouragement) firecrackers. You strike them against the box and the phosphorus (I guess) ignites to light the fuse. Piccolos are marketed as toys, much like giving a monkey a loaded gun, but on a smaller, less-cute scale.
They’re not very loud, and are more a novelty item than an actual effort to ward off bad luck. And they were safe, back when they were shipped in from Europe. The local versions, though, have shown a tendency to explode (pop, anyway) in your hand and shoot out your eye. A fact that is proudly proclaimed by their one-armed, one-eyed mascot in a rare case of truth in advertising.
When they don’t explode in your hand, they’re fun little toys to throw at random things like unsuspecting pedestrians and stalls selling firecrackers.