New Years Eve in Rio
New Year’s Eve
New Years Eve is one of the most popular events in Rio. The only celebration that attracts more revelers than New Years is Rio Carnival. People from all over world including Brazil flock to Rio to enjoy this holiday. As many as 2 million people travel to Rio to join in the fun. All along Copacabana beach, starting at 8 pm, live music shows feature everything from traditional Brazilian music to hard rock and roll.
The fireworks begin at midnight. Barges set offshore hold the fireworks. The show lasts for 15 to 20 minutes. Not only are there spectators on the sand but large cruise ships gather in the waters to enjoy the show. In 2008, a giant Ferris Wheel was included in the festivities. It was erected at Forte de Copacabana. A digital light show along with scenes of Rio is displayed on the wheel during the fireworks countdown.
Traditions of New Years Ever
All Brazilians celebrate New Year’s Eve wearing white to bring good luck for the next year. Some in the crowd will add a splash of color. Red is for romance, yellow for success and green for health. Do not wear black or you will be doomed throughout the coming year. Many locals will bring flowers to the seashore and toss them into the sea throughout the evening. This is a tribute to Yemanja the goddess of the seas. Some locals go so far as to include beauty sets. These kits include soap, lipstick and powder. Candomble stores actually sell them in light blue and white wooden boats. These little boats are set to sea in thanks for a blessing or a wish granted in the old year.
Champagne is popular with the crowd. Do not feel shy to bring a bottle and open it at midnight. Many in the crowd will shake the bottle so it will douse the crowd. They actually appreciate getting wet by the champagne as this too is considered good luck. As an alternative bubble apple cider is acceptable.
Véspera de Ano Novo or the New Year’s Eve is the most important day for the people of Brazil. The best New Year celebrations can be seen in the most important city of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro. New Year celebrations are marked with numerous fireworks and crackers. Musical shows, concerts and other dance performances are the highlights of New Year celebrations in Brazil. The world famous Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro is overcrowded with people on the New Year’s Eve.
How to Prepare
Make sure your clothing is old or cheap as it will probably get doused with champagne, sea water and sand. Do not wear sandals or flip-flops to the celebration. There is too much broken glass after the festivities are over. Instead wear closed toe sensible shoes.
This is the time to people watch. Expect to see the rich, the poor, transvestites, senior citizens, children and teenagers all taking part in the celebration. If you can’t fit on the beach because of the crowds feel free to view the fireworks from the beach lanes as they are closed to traffic during the celebration.
Before the Show
You can plan on a special dinner before the fireworks. Many of the local restaurants offer exclusive New Years Eve menus. Keep in mind that the prices are much more expensive, especially if there is a view of beach from you dinner table. The most elegant place to be for the evening is the Copacabana Palace but there are plenty of other hotels offering New Years Eve buffets. Be sure to make a reservation.
The beach kiosk’s are also an option, it’s cheaper and you’re right at the beach.
After the Fireworks
Because of the unusually busy traffic right after the fireworks it is best to plan a trip to a nearby club to wait out the gridlock. There are many nightclubs and bars within walking distance of Copacabana where you can carry on the celebration. There are even some clubs where you can begin your partying before the fireworks and then get a bracelet so you can go see the display and come back. For those staying up all night, many of the hotels along Copacabana Beach serve very early breakfast buffets that usually include a glass of champagne.
Do not expect to get tickets to this celebration at the last minute. They sell out very fast. Also expect prices for hotels to go up. Many of them will demand a mandatory stay for a fixed number of nights. The earlier you book the trip, the more money you will save.
Luxury Hotels for New Year’s
Starting at $161
Budget Hotels for New Year’s
Starting at $39