Before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020, people from all over the world used to go to Brazil, in particular to the beaches in Rio de Janeiro, to experience the amazing New Year’s Reveillon celebration.
Popularized by music, movies and mainstream media, Copacabana has 4 kilometers of impeccable shores with space enough for several thousands of people. In the past, popular artists such as Rod Steward and Lenny Kravitz have attracted people in droves, both local and international, to enjoy music.
The New Year’s Eve in Copacabana is known by the strict rule of wearing white clothing. It is not mandatory but if someone wears an outfit of a different color, he or she will stand out. This has been a tradition in every New Year’s Eve in Rio, specifically in Copacabana, and there is a very important reason for this tradition: it portrays the welcoming of the New Year with the hopes for peace and prosperity.
People prepare handmade boats and load them with offerings. They wish to please Iemanja, the goddess of the water, so she can provide them with the prosperity for the coming year. There are also rituals and dances to celebrate the coming year in a spiritual way.
In the neighborhood of Copacabana, one can find street celebrations left and right. People dance the popular samba, forró, hip-hop and other kinds of music. Before the pandemic, there used to be open air concerts. The bars near the beach would always remain open so that visitors could party in true Brazilian style.
From 6pm until about 8am, the streets are closed to give room for the celebration and the millions of people watching the New Year’s in Copacabana. It used to be a party unlike any other. A celebration of life in the most colorful, explosive and flamboyant ways.
Flashback to 31st of December, 2019
Rio de Janeiro’s New Year Celebration is usually the city’s second biggest party after Carnival. In December of 2019, the city spent $2.5 million to create a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors.
According to city officials, over 2.9 million tourist and locals gathered at Copacabana beach to say goodbye to 2019 and welcome the New Year. When the clock struck twelve, a breathtaking 14-minute fireworks display lit up the Rio de Janeiro sky. More than 16 tons of pyrotechnics brought magic to what is considered the biggest New Year’s beach party on earth. As tradition dictates, everybody was dressed in white to honor the goddess Iemanja.
In 2019, the theme was “Amor a Cada Vista”, or Love Wherever you Look, a tribute to Rio de Janeiro. New Year’s Eve in Brazil draws from its African roots: drums, rituals of Candomblé and Umbanda, the two main Afro Brazilian religions.
There is a joyful mysticism among believers: eternal hope for the New Year. The party then turns to the sea and the ritual of jumping seven waves, each one, an opportunity to make a wish.