By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Cidade Maravilhosa revels in celebrating the beginning of the new year, and the arrival of 2016 will be no different. As part of the biggest free outdoor party in the world, over two million people will gather on Copacabana Beach to watch a spectacular fireworks display and music show, made possible by the local government and sponsors. In other parts of the city, more stages will host separate celebrations.
The themes for this year’s show is the up-coming Olympic Games, which are the first in South America, and one hundred years of samba. Eleven barges will moor of the coast of Copacabana and serve as the base for a sixteen-minute firework extravaganza.
The audience will be able to identify different images and phases throughout, including ghosts, palm trees and confetti. At the end of the show, the sound of two thousand drums will accompany the moment when the whole of the sky is illuminated by white, in a message of peace.
“The Rio de Janeiro is the first South American city to host the Olympics, which is a source of great satisfaction for all of us. We will welcome tourists from different nationalities. The Copacabana New Year’s Eve could not but reinforce the joy of city to receive such an important event, representing the union of the people. In 2016, we will all be locals. To celebrate the occasion, we chose the samba for the party’s tone, with special attractions such that tells the story of one hundred years of the most Brazilian rhythm of all,” said Antonio Pedro Figueira de Melo, Rio’s Secretary of Tourism.
The main stage, at sixty-five meters long, will have a large LED clock to count down to the new year. From 6PM DJ Marcelo Garcia will set off proceedings, followed by Gabriel Moura from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. From 8PM Diogo Nogueira will lead “SAMBRA, the musical – 100 Years of Samba”.
To round off 2015, acclaimed Carioca singer, Jorge Ben Jor, will play from 10:30 PM to just before midnight. After the countdown, Zeca Pagodinho will play until the drummers and musicians of the Beija-Flor samba school, who won Carnival in 2015, will delight the crowds until 3AM.
Eight other stages apart are planned elsewhere in the city and will be hosting their own celebrations and music shows. They will be at Parque Madureira, Praia do Flamengo, Ilha do Governador, Piscinão de Ramos, Paquetá, Pedra de Guaratiba, Sepetiba and in Penhã.
New Year’s Eve is a popular event throughout the country and it is traditional to wear white to symbolize new beginnings for the coming year. Many Brazilians will also light candles and send flowers into the sea, rituals which are related to the African-based religion, Candomblé.
According Riotur, the city hall’s tourism department, Rio will receive 857,000 tourists in the New Year period, which will add US$686 million to the city’s economy. By mid-November hotel occupancy in Copacabana and Leme was already around eighty-three percent. In Ipanema and Leblon is was closer to eighty-eight percent with numbers only expected to grow closer to the date.