By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The lighting up of Rio’s famous, giant Christmas tree that floats on Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas in Zona Sul (South Zone) was called into question after the metal structure snapped in half in the early morning of November 20th. Since then every effort has been made to mend the tree and a new date, December 12th, has been set for its inauguration.
Though strong winds were blamed for topping the 85-meter tree no one is sure of the reason for the damage. In order to have it up and running in time for Christmas it has been reduced in size and now stands at 53 meters tall, 32 meters smaller than the original.
“This year, the challenge we had in our hands was the fuel to overcome limits. We were fully dedicated to ensure that the tree was ready for Christmas,” says Nelson Drucker, president of Backstage, the company responsible for the installation, planning and management of tree.
Every year the inauguration happens on the first weekend of December, marking the run-up to Christmas. However this year the fireworks show and concert that mark the event had to be postponed until repairs were made.
The event will now begin at 8:30 PM on Saturday. Sponsored by Bradesco Bank, the theme of this year’s tree is “Christmas Renewal” and has a particular focus on the up-coming 2016 Olympic Games. Moving through three phases the tree will begin to light up with rain drops which stand to represent water as a refreshing element that fertilizes the earth and holds the promise of life.
Night will follow, shown with stars and constellations which will then give rise to a world map. Rio, the Olympic host city, will be the brightest star. Then lights will then turn gold and take the form of a traditional Christmas tree adorned with baubles, ornaments and wheat sheaves. At the heart of the display is a message for a better world.
For the best views, watch the show from Avenida Epitácio Pessoa, between Ruas Aníbal de Mendonça and Professor Gastão Bahiana in Ipanema, or the Parque dos Patins near Jardim Botanico.