Rio de Janeiro's world-famous Copacabana beach New Year's Eve party will have a Summer Olympics theme this year, with 2,000 samba school drummers performing along the 2.5 mile shoreline to mark the centennial of the official registration of the first samba song. Rio de Janeiro has promised to host a "spectacular" 2016 Summer Games, despite Brazil's building economic troubles.
Amid the nation's political woes, more than 1 million people are expected to gather Thursday on Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana beach to ring in 2016. The annual beach party typically attracts revelers from across the world for a massive party that includes dozens of artists and DJs performing on a series of stages set up on the beach. A live stream can be viewed here.
A 16-minute fireworks display goes off around midnight and is known locally as Reveillon. It's Rio's second-largest annual event after Carnival. Thousands of police officers are expected to be stationed throughout the beach to maintain security during the celebrations.
Tradition calls for party-goers to wear white clothing to the beach gathering. Wearing all white represents peace and renewal. Other Brazilian New Year’s traditions include throwing flowers into the sea and lighting candles in tribute to the sea goddess Lemanja. The traditions derive from the African religion of Candomble.
Getting to Rio to take part in the party isn't cheap. Local hotel prices often skyrocket around New Year's Eve, and many hotels have a four night minimum stay.
Many revelers arrive around late afternoon to start the party early and secure a comfortable spot on the shoreline. Then midnight comes, and the beach erupts in, "feliz ano novo!”
The year 2016 could be pivotal for Brazil. The Aug. 5-21 Olympic Games are expected to draw 10,000 athletes from 206 countries amid a growing political and economic crisis. Unpopular President Dilma Rousseff faces the threat of impeachment, and the Rio 2016 committee has pledged to spend less than originally planned.