Bring in the New Year in style at Rio’s Reveillon

If you’re looking for somewhere different and exciting to spend your New Year, Rio de Janeiro may be just what you’re looking for; with its stretches of sandy beaches being home to some of the world’s greatest New Year celebrations.

The traditional Reveillon is celebrated all over Brazil at this time of year, but the celebrations taking place in Rio certainly take it up a notch and Reveillon here is often regarded as the ultimate beach party, with over 2 million people flocking to Copacabana for the night-time fun.

Like many other festivals in Brazil, Reveillon combines religion, tradition and superstition with something Brazilians are world-renowned for: partying. The fun really begins at around 8pm, when live music and samba bands line the Avenue Atlantica, and the people begin to descend on the seafront, all dressed in white. This traditional dress code symbolises purity, peace and renewal, whilst showing respect for Iemanja, goddess of the sea. Little touches of colour won’t go amiss, but avoid black at all costs – it’s considered both bad taste and bad luck.

The origins of the festival are in fact rooted in the spiritual beliefs of Candomble, an African religion, with another tradition of the night being paying your respects to the goddess Iemanja by offering gifts of flowers, candles or perfume out to the sea.

Ultimately, the highlight of the night is the fireworks display, a real spectacle set off from the barges that are lined across the entire beach, giving every single soul on the sands an excellent view of a dazzling show. While there are all kinds of private parties taking place in the city’s numerous high rises at the same time, nothing beats being right at the heart of the action. Once the fireworks are over, truly make the most of the occasion by joining in with another celebrated tradition. Simply follow the crowds towards the sea, jump seven waves, and make a wish with each one – the masses of candles, flowers and wishes on little boats only add to the magic and romance of the occasion.

While the Copacabana celebrations are great for families, if you’re looking to party hard well into the night, your best bet is to head to the beaches of Ipanema after the fireworks display. The combination of top electronic music, the sun rising over the beach and the entertaining people watching will definitely make an unforgettable ending to your night.

See our full collection of boutique hotels in Rio de Janeiro here

Andrew is a firm believer that travelling like a local inevitably leads to the best off-the-beaten-path finds which truly make a destination remarkably more memorable. From traditional Indian festivals in humid Hyderabad to fresh seafood pasta by the Sorrentine Peninsula, he appreciates variety when travelling. He hasn't been everywhere, but it’s on the list.