Written by Staff Writer
13 Dec, 2015 | 2:26 pm
A colourful spectacle of fireworks and lights marked the launching of Rio de Janeiro’s traditional floating Christmas tree on Saturday (December 12).
The massive metal structure, recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest floating Christmas tree, is 53 metres (174 feet) tall and weighs 350 tonnes (386 tons).
Nearly 200,000 people looked on as the tree lit up for the 20th consecutive year in Rio’s scenic lagoon, ringing in the holiday season in Brazil.
Attendees at the ceremony were not disappointed.
“(I came here to see) this tree light up. The expectation to see the fireworks going up in the sky was wonderful. It was a unique experience that I’ll remember throughout my entire life,” said Brazilian teacher, Adeilton Lima.
Less than two weeks before the launching, the upper part of the tree’s metal structure collapsed due to heavy winds, forcing organisers to postpone the ceremony and diminish its height by nearly 30 metres (98 feet).
Rain appeared once again, but attendees were able to enjoy the night, nonetheless.
“We always come and I thought that the rain wasn’t a problem. When we wish to see this beautiful moment, this ceremony and the fireworks, I think it (the rain) doesn’t bother us,” said Brazilian student, Lucas Lessa.
The massive structure uses 2.5 million micro light bulbs to create the three designs that were chosen for this season’s tree — blue rain drops, a world map and traditional holiday baubles.
In the coming weeks the floating tree will be moved around the lagoon so it can be viewed from different parts of the city.
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