New Year's Eve at Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Global Storybook

Reveillón – The Biggest New Year’s Eve Bash on Rio’s Copacabana Beach

Natasha de Carvalho

Natasha de Carvalho

Natasha de Carvalho is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Brazil).

Natasha was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. She's deeply in love with her city, its history and culture. She's dedicated to spreading Brazilian lifestyle and customs around the world, as well as traveling and exploring other countries.

Natasha divides her life between science, writing, yoga and her dog. Her life motto is: keep dreaming and believing that change is possible.
Natasha de Carvalho

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Widely known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Copacabana is also the stage of the biggest New Year’s Eve bash in Brazil.  Millions of people from all over the World come here to celebrate and wish each other a happy new year.

The traditional New Year’s Eve celebration in Copacabana started in the 1970’s.  Candomblé (African religion) devotees used to cheer in the New Year, as well as offer gifts to the Yemanjá (a Goddess of the ocean) around the sea.

In the middle of 1980’s, with the support from the local authorities, plus Copacabana’s hotel sponsorships – the Reveillón, as it became known, transformed into one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world.  Since then it already hosted more than 2 million people, annually.  This hugely popular event is now firmly ingrained into the official Rio de Janeiro’s annual calendar.

Copacabana Beach, aerial view, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Global Storybook2018

This year the party will have the longest firework spectacle in its history, with 17 minutes of lights synchronized to a specially developed sound track.  Twenty five tons of multicolored fireworks will be launched from the ocean by 11 ferryboats, delivering an unbelievably spectacular show to audience waiting at the shore.

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It was estimated that this year there will be a record number of 3 million attendees.  Special traffic and security patrols will be in place to handle this madness.

In addition, music events will start at 8pm.  This year Copacabana’s stage will welcome Frejat, Cidade Negra, Alex Cohen, Belo, Ana Petkovic, DJs Tucho and Luis & Henrique.

The most highly awaited performer of the night is the singer Anitta, who will appear just after the midnight’s countdown.  After that, the 2017 samba school’s champions (Portela e Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel) will lead the party until the morning lights.  The entire event will be hosted by André Marinho and André Marques.

This year, the central theme of the celebration is “the hug”, to remind each other about solidarity.  Finally, the public will also have an opportunity to watch the fireworks from a new advantage point this year.  Drones will be flying around the area, while broadcasting videos to 12 LED widescreen TVs.

New Year's Eve at Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Global StorybookHow to get to Copacabana on the New Year’s Eve

During the day on December 31st, the traffic flow changes will be in effect around Copacabana, as well as Ipanema, Lagoa, Flamengo and Botafogo neighborhoods.  No cars will be allowed in the area.  Hence, it is very important to plan in advance how to get here without any delays.

It is easy to imagine that with that many people trying to get to the same place, reaching your final destination can became a problem.  Public transportation is by far the best option to arrive to Copacabana during this evening.

Subway is probably the best option to get here with no issues, but do keep in mind that you must pre-purchase a special ticket to use the subway from 7pm to 5am.  The tickets can be bought at the local subway stations before the event.  If you are staying close enough to the party, consider taking a walk while enjoying the moment.

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New Year's Eve at Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Global StorybookParty Like a Local

If you’d like to feel like you are part of the local culture, follow these few main tips:

1. Try to wear some new, white or brightly colored clothes.  White is definitely the main color that you will see most while visiting Copacabana.  The reason behind it stems from the past.  Brazilians believe that white brings peace and the new items bring good fortune.  So dig into your wardrobe or buy something new to wear.

2. Be aware of rain.  The actual forecast for 2018 shows rain during the night, so protect your electronic devices and documents.  Carry only the most necessary items: your ID, money and happiness.

3. Remember the good luck superstitions.  Jump seven consecutive small waves while making seven wishes; dedicate flowers to Yemanjá; light a candle or eat 12 grapes.  Does it work?  I’m not sure, but it’s better to do it… just in case.

4. 3… 2… 1… party!  After the countdown everything turns into a real big party so please don’t be surprised if a stranger standing close to you, will cheer you loudly as an old friend.  Happy New Year, friends and let’s celebrate it!

Copacabana Beach sunset, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Global Storybook

Copacabana beach during sunset

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