New Year’s Eve (“Reveillon”) Rio de Janeiro

Posted on December 30, 2009

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 8 p.m. featuring everything from traditional Carnival songs to rock and dance.

The fireworks festival starts at midnight, with fireworks stations located in boats anchored offshort 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.

It is traditional to wear white, and many people bring flowers to throw them in the ocean before midnight as an offering to Yemanja, the deity of the seas. If you bring a bottle of champagne and shake it so it sprays around when you open it, it’s considered good luck. You may also be blessed by a Candomble priestess, and enjoy the traditional African dances and costumes.

Reveillon is a party where there are no class distinctions — you’ll run into socialites, working class people, transvestites, children, seniors, couples, teenagers — it’s a time for everyone to mingle in peace to welcome the new year.

Here’s a video to give you a taste of Reveillon in Rio.  Feliz Ano Novo!

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