Celebrate with your Heart, not your Gun – SEESAC’s Regional Campaign to Raise Awareness about Dangers of Celebratory Shooting

SEESAC is leading a regional social media campaign for the Western Balkans to raise awareness about the dangers of our region’s custom of celebratory shooting. The campaign, Celebrate with your Heart, not your Gun”, lasting from 20 December to 20 January, is taking place on Facebook, Instagram, and on Google, and covers Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


Celebratory shooting or celebratory gunfire takes place across the Western Balkans, to different extents and for a variety of reasons. It happens at a number of events and occasions, such as weddings, after the birth of a child, religious festivals and holidays, New Year’s Eve, and after sporting event victories.

Shooting a gun at a wedding or after the birth of a child, particularly a son, used to be a way of announcing the event to neighboring villages, especially in the mountainous areas of Albania and Montenegro. It is still practiced today to signal a family’s happiness to others, even though its use as a means to transmit a message is obsolete. Festive holidays, such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Easter, are now often marked by celebratory gunfire at midnight. An occurrence that has also become more frequent is celebratory gunfire at weddings and sports events. As celebratory fire increased, casualties followed.

Join us as we “Celebrate with our Hearts, not our Guns” to help prevent more casualties and to keep our region safe this holiday season.

Help us by sharing our message, statistics, and pictures that tell the story. The campaign is available on our FaceBook, Instagram accounts and on Google. Follow our Twitter account for English language announcements and posts

The campaign is part of SEESAC’s EUSAC project funded through the EU Council Decision 2013/730/CFSP in support of SEESAC disarmament and arms control activities in South East Europe. SEESAC provides support to national and regional stakeholders in strengthening their capacities to control and reduce the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons and in this way contribute to stability, security and development in South East Europe (SEE). 


* References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).