The world’s “Largest Floating Christmas Tree” has been lit amidst the tranquil waters of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, a sparkling lake at the heart of Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Sul, near Ipanema. Since 1995, the enormous tree has been a Carioca tradition, breaking records since 2006 when the current floating frame was first inaugurated. It has since consistently topped “Top Ten Christmas Trees around the World” types of lists around the globe.
Over the years, this “Gift to the Brazilian Family” from Bradesco Seguros, an insurance company, has been enlarged, adapted, and illuminated with ever more pomp and circumstance. In its current incarnation it stands 279ft (85m) tall, weighs 542 tons, and has 3.3 million bulbs. Rockefeller Center, eat your heart out.
This past November 26, the tree was lit to the roar of crowds, flash of cameras, and a fireworks show that should have made Beijing and DC feel self-conscious. This year, the festivities also heralded the sweeping new logo of Rio’s upcoming 2016 Paralympic Games, which rose from the water alongside the gorgeous tree. Live music from local artists, including the Orquestra Sinfonica de Barra Mansa, kept the party hopping.
The tree will be illuminated nightly from 7:30pm until 2am (3am on weekends) until January 6, Epiphany or Three King’s Day. That gives everyone a breather before the next big event, Carnival, which sets the city alight once more on February 18.
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