The New Year in Brazil is closely linked to the sea. While in the northern hemisphere we celebrate New Year’s Eve warmly clad to shelter ourselves from the cold, Brazil chooses its beaches as the most emblematic place to commemorate this festivity. Every city and every region have their own way of celebrating it but the famous feast of Réveillon is especially spectacular in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador da Bahia.
The fireworks on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, which light up the sky for over 15 minutes, are world famous, and there are also plenty of musical performances on the sand and the impressive mysticism of the Feast of Iemanjá, a celebration in which flowers and other offerings are placed for lemanjá (or Janaína), the main female orixá, considered the queen of the waters and a fine mermaid.
The wide stretch of sand on Copacabana Beach is covered by a compact human mass, musical ensembles and candomblé rituals. The sea is spotted with lights, some beaming from launches, yachts and other types of boats, and others from large reflectors placed strategically. People of all ages and social, religious and cultural extraction gather to look up at the sky covered with the brightness and beauty of the fireworks in an explosion of colors and shapes, conveying optimism and hope for better days.
In Salvador da Bahia, on December 31 the streets in the city center are filled with stalls serving food and drink starting from 6 p.m. in the workup to the celebration. People from all over the world meet in the streets of Pelourinho and enjoy the lively atmosphere while they wait for nightfall. When the sun sets it’s time for tradition and partying; people dressed in white go to the beach to welcome the new year. Many wade into the sea to be purified and pay tribute to the Orixás, dancing on the sand to live music; tropical rhythms, samba and salsa will keep your feet going throughout this magic night. The fishermen’s boats throughout the Bay launch Fireworks to light up such a special night.
The atmosphere surrounds you, the joie de vivre catches on and you will never forget the best night of Réveillon of your life.
Take note: In Salvador they hold a race to commemorate Saint Silvester, a tradition on the last day of the year, when 10,000 participants run a distance of 15 kilometers.
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