Ano Novo in Rio de Janeiro
One of the most popular times to head to Rio de Janeiro — aside from Carnival — is the New Year or Reveillon.
French for “long holiday, ” Reveillion is one of the most spectacular New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world. More than 2.5 million people gather on Ipanema and Copacabana beaches for epic parties, live performances by Brazilian artists, fireworks and a good time. While you can opt for a private beachside penthouse party, the best seats in the house are directly on the beach.
But Reveillion is more than the concerts, spectacular fireworks and caipirinhas (Brazil’s traditional cocktail, made with sugar cane rum). For Brazilians, especially those of the Umbanda religion, New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to pay tribute to Yemanja, the goddess of the sea. She is offered flowers, jewelry, perfume, lighted candles and rice, which are set adrift into the sea on small boats or tossed directly into the water.
The New Year, or Ano Novo in Portuguese, also symbolizes a new start in one’s life. It’s a time when the past is abandoned and one welcomes the new year full of expectancy of great things to come. While most wear white as a symbol of peace and balance, other colors are also worn to help usher in desired wishes for the New Year:
- White – for positive energy, peace, truth, wisdom, balance
- Yellow/orange/gold – for money, wealth, wisdom and to stimulate intuition
- Rose/red – for luck in love, beauty, passion and intensity
- Blue – for stillness, harmony, health
- Green – for hope, renewal, growth
To start the new year off like a true Carioca (native of Rio de Janeiro) and ensure a financially prosperous new year, enjoy a bowl of lentil soup or lentils and rice, the traditional Brazilian first meal of the day.
Cheers to the New Year!
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