More than 1 million people gathered on Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana beach to ring in 2015. The annual beach party typically lasts past sunrise as revelers welcome the New Year from the shores of the Atlantic. This year’s festivities will see at least two dozen artists and DJs perform on a series of three stages set up on the beach, according to the Associated Press.
A massive fireworks display is scheduled for midnight, with one of the highlights including an effects sequence that will spell out “Rio 450”-- in honor of the city’s 450th anniversary-- in the night sky. The 16-minute fireworks spectacular will be synchronized with a soundtrack and special effects, reported the Rio Times. The event, known locally as Reveillon, is the second-largest annual event in the city after Carnival, Brazil’s blockbuster spring celebration. Authorities in Rio have an estimated 3,600 police stationed around the beach to maintain security during the celebrations.
A videotaped message from Pope Francis is also slated to be broadcast to the gathered crowds ahead of the midnight fireworks display. “Dear Brazilian people, it is with great joy that I address you on the eve of a new year marking the start of celebrations commemorating 450 years since the foundation of the city,” the pontiff will reportedly tell revelers, according to the AFP.
Brazilians traditionally greet the ne year dressed in white clothing, which is ubiquitous among revelers along the 2.5-mile beach. Joao Rodrigues, public relations director for the nation’s tourism board, said the color “symbolizes renewal, especially in coastal towns,” reported the New York Times. Brazilian New Year’s traditions also include throwing flowers into the ocean at midnight, as a tribute to the sea goddess Iemanja.
A live stream of the Copacabana festivities can be viewed here.