12/09/2013 04:40 pm ET Updated Feb 08, 2014

Get "Rio Ready" for New Year's 2014

Top Five New Year's Traditions in Brazil


Photo credit: Brazil Tourism Guide

1. Reveillons in Copacabana
Reveillons are enormous New Year's parties where tradition and celebration go hand in hand on Rio de Janerio's Copacabana beach. Performances and music start as early as 6 p.m. and the celebration continues until sunrise. These parties extend to about 3 miles of the coast of Copacabana. You can expect to see outside concerts, samba dancing, bars opened 24-hours, breath-taking fireworks and an enormous local and international crowd. Besides Carnaval, this is the second largest spectacular party with about 2 million people from around the world populating the beaches of Brazil.

2. One should wear white
It goes without saying that some of the most beautiful people in the world will be partying in Brazil. For New Year's parties, make sure that you stand out in a good way and start the New Year out right. First, make sure that you dress in white otherwise you will really stick out. In Brazilian culture, everyone wears white to welcome the New Year with the expectations of peace and prosperity. Second, people add their own twist to their white attire with colored accessories, undergarments and swimwear. Since white is pretty translucent, adding color underneath is very fashionable among the locals. Third, you can use these accent colors underneath your white clothing to represent your New Year's resolutions: white for peace, green for good health, yellow for money, red for romance and purple for inspiration.

3. You are what you eat
In Brazilian culture, what you eat at the turn of the year is a reflection on the New Year ahead of you. Therefore, stick to the foods that will give you the most prosper and luck. Lentils (or lentilhas in Portuguese) will increase your luck and, as a bonus, they are very nutritious. Eating pork on this day is also believed to keep one's pantry full in the New Year. Stay away from turkey and crab, unless you want a year full of bad luck. Lastly, consuming champagne at New Year's will energize you all year long, so drink up.

4. Lucky seven
New Year's ritual has it that chewing seven pomegranate (or romã in Portuguese) seeds at midnight, without swallowing them and then preserving them in your wallet, will ensure that your wallet will be full of money in the upcoming year. Another customary ritual is jumping over seven waves in the ocean and for every wave you jump you make a wish for the New Year.

5. Offerings to the Goddess Iemanjá
Goddess lemanjá is the "Queen of the Ocean," and in Rio de Janeiro, you will see her portrayed as this beautiful woman rising out of the ocean. In the midst of New Year's Eve, people throw white flowers and send out floating candles into the ocean as offerings to the goddess. These contributions are made in hopes that Goddess lemanjá's will grant one's wishes for the New Year. Since lemanjá' is the controller of the ocean waves, it is believed that if your offerings are sent back, then she is not pleased and will not grant your wish. This is why you will see many Brazilians send out their offerings in little toy boats to better ensure she will accept the goods. Not only is this an important spiritual tradition in Brazil, but it is also a beautiful sight to see thousand of flowers and candles floating in the ocean.