New Year’s Eve is one of Rio de Janeiro’s most important celebrations, second only to Carnival in popularity. It attracts people from all over the world, and Brazilians from all states.
The festivities are concentrated in Copacabana, with 2 million people every year. There are four stages along the beach with live music shows starting at 6 p.m. featuring everything from traditional Carnival songs to rock and dance.
The fireworks festival starts at midnight, with the turning of the year. The fireworks stations are located in boats anchored in a safe distance from the beach. It lasts about 15-20 minutes, and two highlights are the fireworks cascades at Forte de Copacabana and at Le Meridien Hotel.
If you are coming for New Year’s Eve you must learn some of the traditions. The first one is that people wear white for the party. You may add accessories in your favorite colors: red is good to attract romance, yellow is for prosperity, green for good health, and so on. Black is not the right color to wear, no matter how fashionable it may be.
A lot of people bring flowers, and you should throw them in the sea before midnight. They are an offering to Yemanja, the deity of the seas. Bring a bottle of champagne to pop and drink at midnight. If you are on the beach and you decide to shake the bottle and spray around, nobody will complain – it’s considered good luck. You may also be blessed by a Candomble priestess, and enjoy the traditional African dances and costumes. This is a party where everybody is welcome. Walk along the beach and you will run into socialites, working class people, transvestites, children, seniors, couples, teenagers, it seems that all tribes mingle in peace to welcome the new year.
2011 festivities will be produced by SRCom. The company is developing the theme “Golden Decade”, in an allusion to the great events Rio will host in the coming years: Military World Games in July 2011, FIFA‘s Confederations Cup in 2013 and 2014 World Cup in 2014, and the 2016 Olympic Games.
The 2011 New Year celebrations in Copacabana will feature 11 barges with 1,200 fireworks each, 40 sound towers, 30 police towers, four screens, seven emergency stations, 26 mobile intensive care ambulances and 60 stretcher carriers.
There will be four stages on Copacabana Beach: the Brasil stage in front of the Copacabana Palace, one in Leme (Beat 98), another (Pop/Rock) in front of Rua Santa Clara and one in front of Rua Xavier da Silveira (70s and 80s).
The party will kick off t at 6 p.m. with DJs. Shows will begin at 8 p.m. The countdown to midnight will open with the launch of the 2016 Olympics logo, followed by a video and a light and laser show five minutes before midnight.
The fireworks will follow a special blackout on the beach, lasting a few seconds. Fireworks by Pirotecnia Igual, from Spain, will be set to music and divided by themes: “Welcome, Golden Decade”, “Natural Riches”, “United Peoples”, “Celebration of Life”, “Carioca Friendliness”, “Peace in the World”, “Contagious Energy”, “The Future is Blue”, “Apotheosis of Love” and “Brazilian Watercolor”.
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