New Year's Eve Celebrations in Rio de Janeiro

New Year's Eve in Rio is the only event that rivals the heat and frenzy of the Carnival. Home to the biggest and wildest celebrations in the world, read this Buzzle article to know how Rio de Janeiro celebrates the onset of a new year.
Celebrating New Year's eve in Rio
Brazilians prefer to welcome the New Year dressed in white, a color they feel symbolizes new beginnings.
If you ask me, I'd say that anytime is a fabulous time to be in Rio. I mean, forget the Carnival and all, but the city's vibrant energy is so pulsating, it just takes a few moments for anyone to get swept into party mode.

Rio's reputation as a New Year's Eve party hub is second to none. Brazilians take each of their celebrations very seriously, and New Year's Eve is no different. So here's a look at what Rio has in store for us, this time.

What to Expect

Rio welcomes approximately 2 million visitors from all over the world, including Brazil as well. Needless to say that Copacabana Beach is the epicenter of activities on December 31st, every year.

Live music performances kick start at around 8 p.m., and play possibly everything from Brazilian folk music to international hits.

People begin to gather around Copacabana as early as 3 p.m., and by the time it's midnight, the entire area is jam-packed.

A spectacular show of fireworks commences at midnight, and goes on for approximately 20 minutes. Besides the spectators present on the shore, there are a lot of cruise ships that line up to view the firework blitzkrieg.

Where to Party

Copacabana on New Years Eve

Revelers coming to Copacabana have a few options when it comes to partying; here's a little bit on how to plan a New Year's Eve party in Rio de Janeiro.

On the Beach
You may choose to simply stay on the beach; but be warned that it gets insanely crowded as the evening progresses. You find a lot of people jostling for space, with most of them being rather tipsy. It is advisable that you head to the beach sans any valuables, except for the basic amount that can get you back to your hotel. It's easy to lose cash and valuables in crowded areas, as we're all aware.

The lanes leading up to Copacabana are closed to vehicular traffic on New Year's Eve. These bylanes offer a nice viewing spot if you wish to enjoy the fireworks display.

In a Hotel
The Copacabana-Ipanema stretch is lined with several hotels that offer rooms which have a fabulous view of the beach. Of course, most of these rooms get snapped up in advance; or are up for grabs at the last minute, provided you have a massive amount to shell out.

Assuming you've sensibly booked such a room in advance, you can simply relax, put your feet up, and enjoy the awesomeness from the plush comforts of your room. You may ask room service to deliver your dinner (along with some champagne, of course), and raise a toast to the new year in style.

Several hotels also host in-house parties, possibly on a deck that overlooks the beach. These parties may at times only be open to patrons who're staying at the said hotel; otherwise, they may be open to all. Entry passes to most of these parties are put up for sale almost a month in advance, so if you're interested, keep an eye out for these.

Copacabana Palace Hotel | Avenida Atlantica 1702, Rio de Janeiro

Pestana Rio Atlantica Hotel | Avenida Atlantica 2964 Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

JW Marriott Hotel | Avenida Atlantica 2600 Praia de Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

V├ęspera de Ano Novo, Rio-style

Yes, it means "New Year's Eve, Rio-style". This section tells you a little bit about the way Brazilians like to celebrate the beginning of the new year.

  • The tradition dictates that one needs to be dressed in the color white while welcoming the new year. So, you'll find a sea of whites on Copacabana's shores on New Year's Eve.
  • Some people like to include a sliver of color, symbolizing something in particular. Red is for romance, yellow indicates success, whereas green stands for good health.
  • Donning the eternal party color, black, is a strict no-no.
  • Also, ensure that your clothing isn't too precious or expensive when you're heading to the beach, as there are high chances of people getting doused in champagne that frequently gets splashed around.
  • People like to bring various kinds of offerings for Yemanja, the Goddess of the Sea.
  • Commonly, people are seen offering flowers, but unconventional gifts exist as well.
  • There are instances of locals offering beauty kits to the sea. These pre-packaged kits include bath products and cosmetics.
  • The offerings are usually seen as a symbol of thanksgiving for the blessings received.
Toasting the New Year
  • Carrying a bottle of champagne is almost a given on New Year's Eve.
  • Brazilians like to ring in the new year with a grand toast―and champagne is the drink of celebrations.
  • Splashing champagne is fairly common, so do pay heed to the word of advice mentioned in the attire section.
The party in Rio goes on until the wee hours of the morning, just that it shifts base from the beach to all of Rio's numerous nightclubs. So, if you wish to welcome the new year in style, Rio de Janeiro is where you should be heading.
Published: December 21, 2013
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