Upon your arrival to Rio de Janiero, you are greeted by a friendly and laid back atmosphere. Your personal guide drives you through the city pointing out some of the well-know sites such as Sugar Loaf Mountain and the impressive statue of Christ the Redeemer towering above the city. Over the course of the next few days, you will have the opportunity to view these sites first hand along with your expert local guide who can tell you the ins and outs of each stop. Though Rio de Janiero always is buzzing with energy, you notice there is a particular excitement in the air for the upcoming New Year’s celebration. It is time to ring in 2016.
As you walk into your room at the iconic Copacabana Palace, you are delighted at the splendid view that overlooks the famous Copacabana beach. You recall your guide told you that this beach is central hub for New Years and is visited by millions of people on New Year’s Eve as they gather to watch the fireworks from the beach. Fortunately, you will have a front row seat in the comfort of your suite to the most sought after New Year’s event. For now, you soak in the marvelous views of the beach as you feel the sun warm your skin and enjoy the tranquility before the night’s festivities.
After a day of sightseeing including a helicopter tour over the city landing on Sugarloaf Mountain at sunset, you return back to your hotel to prepare for the New Year’s celebration. With the panoramic views of the city still replaying through your head, you pick an outfit based on what your guide related to you about Brazilian New Years traditions: a white dress with brightly colored jewelry. For Brazilians, it is important to wear white when ringing in the New Years as it is a sign of peace and prosperity. However, in keeping with the colorful culture of country, many Brazilians accessorize with colorful jewelry and bathing suits that signify various wishes for the next year: green is for good health, yellow is for money, red for romance and purple is for inspiration.
The festivities at the Copacabana Palace begin with the famous NYE dinner, followed by a celebration overlooking the beach. Samba music can be heard from all around as people gather on the beach. There is dancing and singing. The mood couldn’t be any more festive. Out of the corner of your eye, you see people preparing items in little boats adorned with flowers and candles. Your guide tells you they are preparing their offerings to Lemenja, the Goddess of the Ocean. Later, they will wade out into the water and place their candlelit boats out into the ocean. If their boats are returned by the currents it is said that their wishes for next year will not come to fruition. As the clock strikes midnight and the fireworks crack over your head, you chew on 7 pomegranate seeds for good luck, another Brazilian tradition, and know that this is the best New Years yet.