Sunday, December 24, 2006

New Year's Eve in Rio: The Mother of All Bashes!

By Marcia Crowell

SUMMARY: New Year's Eve in Rio, Brazil, is a great way of starting a new year. Besides taking part in one of the most beautiful New Year's celebrations in the world, you can also relax on Brazil's beautiful beaches and enjoy the Brazilian summer, food and friendliness.

New Year’s Eve in Rio, Brazil, is a memorable experience. Sure, there is an awesome fireworks’ show, 4 km of them on Copacabana beach, 20 minutes of light and magic. The fireworks are launched from the sea which makes the spectacle even more beautiful. There is music: several stages scattered along the beach catering to all tastes, with Brazilian and international stars. And it is all free.

But there is more to Rio de Janeiro’s celebration of the New Year and that is what makes this a very special destination. To begin with, it is hot which is perfect for the Brazilian tradition of going into the sea for the first swim of the year. And again, it is hot: so you can dance on the sands of Copacabana all night long and see the sunrise right there, with your 2 million new buddies. It is a huge manifestation of peace and harmony.

It is mystic: Brazilians wear white on New Year’s Eve to pray, hope and wish Peace. Once more, it is mystic: in a multireligious society such as Brazil’s, you will find several religious groups, mainly Afro-Brazilian religions like Candomblé. They go to the beach to thank Iemanjá, the Queen of the Waters, for the year that ended and make wishes for the year that just began. They throw flowers into the sea, as an offer to Iemanjá. If you feel like it, you can buy some flowers and make your wishes. Feel free to get into the spirit of the Brazilian celebration.

There are several fireworks’ waterfalls; the most famous and traditional is at the Meridien Hotel. The restaurants and hotels have parties and music so you can dance the night away.

New Year’s in Rio de Janeiro Tips

If you plan on spending New Year’s Eve in Rio, you should make your reservations early. This celebration is getting to be almost as popular as Carnival which means the earlier you book, the better. You can find good hotels deals if you book until November. You can also find good last minute deals, but there will not be as many choices, you will have to count on luck and do more research.

From 9 o’clock, there are already people and music (not live yet) on the beach. Go early to get into the mood and wear something white, you will fit in perfectly. It rains a lot in Brazil in the summer and sometimes it rains on New Year's Eve. But it's ok. It is always hot! Last but not least: Feliz Ano Novo! Happy New Year!

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