CDA wants Church Bells to ring in the New Year
Political party CDA wants the church bells in the Netherlands to ring out when the country enters 2021 as the clock strikes midnight and New Year's Day begins. The Dutch tradition of setting off fireworks on New Year's Eve has been banned this year in the hope that fewer people will require hospitalization for injuries caused by fire and explosives.
The hospital system was already treating nearly two thousand people for Covid-19 on Wednesday, a figure which has risen nearly all of December and was expected to rise further during the upcoming ten days. Over a fourth of those patients were taking up beds in an intensive care unit.
Chris van Dam, a Member of Parliament for the Christian-right CDA party, says the church bells are not only intended as an alternative for the missing fireworks but also to provide solidarity for those who have to spend New Years’ alone, due to the pandemic. He ends his post with #nietallen, a hashtag which translates to "not alone".
He made the proposal in a video message posted to Twitter where he stands next to a church bell.
Luid de kerkklokken bij de jaarwisseling! Oproep van het @cdavandaag. Als subtiel alternatief voor het vuurwerk, maar vooral als teken van verbondenheid. In moeilijke tijden. #nietalleen pic.twitter.com/BJeyQPCXwO— Chris van Dam (@ChrisvanDamCDA) December 17, 2020
The CDA is one of four parties which makes up the governing center-right Cabinet in the Netherlands. Van Dam's proposal is supported by Gert-Jan Segers, leader of the CU, another Christian party in the coalition. Segers responded on Twitter by saying, “Let the sound of the church bells highlight the message to everyone that needs to hear it during these difficult times: 'You are not alone.'”
The Protestant Church supports the initiative whole-heartedly stating that it touches on old traditions. The Roman Catholic Church previously announced that in certain places the church bells will ring at midnight. They stress, however, that the bells are mainly intended to emphasize a feeling of connection and are not specifically an alternative for fireworks.
As a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Catholic Bishops in the Netherlands agreed that there will be no public celebrations or Mass services from 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve through 7 a.m. on Christmas Day, with daytime Mass services limited to thirty people. No Midnight Mass was expected to be publicly celebrated on New Year's Eve, either.