When people think of impressive Christmas decorations around the world, most of them conjure up images of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree here in New York City and all the pomp and circumstance surrounding its lighting. I personally imagine Beyonce being hoisted on a cherry picker to hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
The NYC tree has nothing on the arboreal spectacle in Rio de Janeiro, however. First of all, the Rio tree isn’t even a real tree – it’s a giant mechanical structure affixed with bulbs, screens, and laser lights that put on a show unlike any other. Oh yeah, and the whole thing is set on a flotation device and sent to bob in the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, making it the largest floating Christmas tree in the world.
Lit up at the beginning of December, the Bradesco Seguros Christmas Tree weighs 542 tons and is 85 meters tall (the equivalent of a 28-story building). The jumbo holiday decoration has 3.3 million miniature lights, 344,487 feet of rope lights, and 2,100 strobes to make spectators seize with the spirit of the Yuletide.
This is the 17th consecutive year that Rio has boasted the world’s largest floating Christmas tree. You can check out the inspiration for the trees of yesteryear here, but this year’s theme is “Christmas Around the World” and the regular light show it produces reflects the changing of the seasons (ending with summer because that’s when Christmas is celebrated south of the Equator). At the inauguration event, the damn thing even spewed fireworks! A much cooler holiday pyrotechnic event than lighting a goat statue on fire or letting a faulty bulb set your dry Christmas spruce ablaze in the night.
The Bradesco Seguros Christmas Tree will remain lit until January 6 (Three King’s Day) when the spectacle will go dark until next year. Most of you probably won’t make it down there in time to see the 2012 incarnation, but you can still watch this short video that has clips of the opening night festivities: