Host Country of 2016 Olympic Games Gets Festive In December
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Brazil, and that’s because of a unique holiday tradition in Rio.
A floating Christmas tree. With fireworks.
Located on Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, the tree weighs more than 300 tons, stands at 53 meters high and is lit up by 2.5 million lights. While on display, the tree is moved around the lake, allowing it to be viewed from different parts of the city.
And there are also fireworks that light up the sky.
Brazil as a whole has some unique customs when it comes to Christmas.
Most Brazilian families have their big Christmas dinner on December 24th. The meal is served around 10 p.m., and exactly at midnight people greet each other, make a toast, wish everyone a Happy Christmas and after that, exchange presents.
Brazil has a lot of Catholics and they go to a Midnight Mass service or Missa do Galo (Mass of the Roster). The mass normally finishes about 1 a.m. After the Missa do Gallo there are often big firework displays and in big towns and cities there are big Christmas Tree shaped displays of electric lights.
Favorite Christmas foods in Brazil include pork, turkey, pork, ham, salads and fresh and dried fruits. Everything is served with rice cooked with raisins and a good spoon of “farofa” (seasoned manioc flour.) Popular Christmas desserts include tropical and ice cream.
With the strong dollar, this is an especially good time for Americans to visit Brazil, the country that is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Aug. 5-21.