By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Aussie expats, travelers and their friends in Rio are excited to celebrate Australia Day, their national holiday, in Brazil this evening. An informal event organized by expatriate Bel Casson has grown into a sizable shindig with hundreds of people RSVP’d to attend, starting tonight at 7PM at Bar 48 in Ipanema.

Brazil, Brazil News, Rio De Janeiro, Australia Day
Australian and Brazilian bonds secured at an Australian Day event held in 2013, photo internet recreation.

The Australian national holiday marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.

Bel Casson, who works at Caminhos Language Centre in Ipanema explained how the event got started. “I just wanted to celebrate Australia Day and show solidarity for Australia. I miss home and I thought it would be nice to meet fellow Aussies and hear about how they are going living in Rio also.”

“In Australia it’s tradition to get together with your friends, have a BBQ and listen to Triple J’s hottest 100.” Casson describes, and admits, “It started as a small get together and has grown into this huge event – I didn’t realize there were so many Aussies in Rio and so many Brazilians who lived in Australia and wanted to connect here.”

One reason that the event may have grown so quickly is the appreciation Brazilians have for Australia and their culture. Casson explains “Brazil and Australia have tight connections due to the similarities in culture, surf, sun and relaxed nature. There are so many Brazilians living in Australia and when you say you are Australian here, the Brazilians automatically welcome you with open arms.”

The event is being hosted in Ipanema at the new Bar 48 (near Hortifruti supermarket) and they have a DJ for the night – DJ Don Jay who is going to play favorite Aussie tunes like Silverchair, Chet Faker, Sia, Alt J, Vance Joy, Hilltop Hoods, Milky Chance, Sticky Fingers, The Preechers, British India, Sarah Blasko, Nick Cave, Gotye, Jimmy Barnes, John Butler, Paul Kelly, Michael Hutchence, Kylie Minogue, John Farnham, Matt Corby, Kieth Urban, Guy Sebastian – to name a few.

For additional flavor, Casson says, “We have managed to get the traditional Australian flag, the Boxing Kangaroo flag and are still on the lookout for a traditional Aboriginal flag.” Adding, “Guests are bringing Tim tams and Fairy Bread.”

What: Australia Day in Rio de Janeiro
Where: Bar 48 Rua Teixeira de Melo 48, Ipanema
When: Tuesday, January 26, 7PM
Entrance: Free

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