15 December 2019
Rio de Janeiro: The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro has lit up its traditional floating Christmas tree - one of the biggest of its kind in the world - with musical shows and fireworks, marking the beginning of the December festivities.
The impressive metallic structure, standing 230 feet tall, was illuminated on Saturday with multicoloured lights above the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, one of the most iconic places in all of the southern region of Rio de Janeiro, reports Efe news.
The lights were accompanied by a musical show and fireworks that went on for seven minutes, as hundreds of spectators gathered to witness the inauguration.
With a height equivalent to a 24-storey building, the towering Christmas tree stands atop 11 platforms to float on the water. More than 900,000 LED light bulbs provide it with its distinct, shimmering glow.
Different combinations of lights allows the tree to show eight different patterns.
The huge floating Christmas tree, one of the major attractions of the city this time of the year, was set up for the first time in 1996.
However, after being damaged in a storm in 2015, it remained dark in 2016 and 2017 due to the economic crisis that had ravaged the city's coffers. To this day, Rio is yet to completely recover from that crisis.
The Christmas attraction was lit up once again in December 2018 - despite being 15 metres shorter than its predecessor - thus resuming the city's decades-old tradition.
The tree will remain lit until January 6, 2020.