By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With one of the biggest firework celebrations and most well-attended parties in the world, Copacabana Beach is one of the places to experience New Year’s Eve – however, navigating the festivities can also be a daunting prospect so here are a few tips to ensure night is both memorable and safe.
The first big question is how to get to the beach. Rio’s city hall always recommends the metro – as with many roads around the beach closed, cars and taxis are pretty much out of the question.
Just be sure to purchase a special ticket for New Year’s Eve travel as existing tickets won’t be valid on the night. Wearing comfortable shoes is also a great idea, as there will be plenty of walking, and hopefully dancing, involved.
Copacabana beach is around two miles (or 3.5 kilometers) in length, so picking a comfortable spot to enjoy the celebrations is vital. Amit Ramnani, British expatriate at Ipanema Wealth, suggests “Posto 6 all the way, because it’s easy to get in and out of, which can often be a pain.”
He continues, “Posto 6 is more chilled. Posto 2-5 is intense, especially at 2 and 3 where you will be squashed! I would also give the usual advice of being very careful with your belongings when among the crowds.”
Charlie Jonas, of Rio Exclusive, also suggests Posto 6 as the best option. “My tip would be to watch the fireworks from Posto 6 then immediately go to the parties on Ipanema beach, where there are less crowds and more safety.”
Cariocas have many superstitions surrounding New Year’s Eve, and it’s good to join in with a few for that immersive feeling. “Be sure to wear white, as this is the traditional color for New Year’s,” says Talita Soares, student.
“Also, there is a tradition of wearing a piece of colored clothing, such as underwear. Everyone has a different version, but the most common ones are pink for love and yellow for money.”
She continues, “other traditions include eating lentils for prosperity, and twelve grapes, one for each month of the year.” On Copacabana beach, people often take part in the traditional ‘Umbanda’ (Afro-Brazilian religion) ritual of jumping seven waves. Another common practice is to throw flowers into the ocean as an offering for Iemanjá, deity of the sea.
On the night, celebrations will last from around 7PM until around 4AM. There will be live performances from Brazilian stars Gilberto Gil and Ludmilla, as well as a fourteen-minute synchronized fireworks display, all for free.
Along Copacabana Beach and beyond, many venues will also be hosting their own private New Year’s Eve Parties, with tickets still available at some of the best events in Rio.
“I went for a walk yesterday and ended up seeing Gilberto Gil soundcheck and play a mini concert on the main stage. So that would be my tip for enjoying New Year’s Eve on Copacabana beach while avoiding the crowds!” adds Martina Farmbauer, journalist.