For the thirteenth year in a row Brazil's Bradesco Bank is bringing to Rio, in southeastern Brazil, its giant Christmas tree, the biggest floating Christmas tree in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Thousands of people gathered this Saturday, November 29, to watch the lightning of the year-end Holiday treat.
The annual ceremony is considered the third greatest event in the city of Rio de Janeiro, after Carnaval and New Year's Eve. This year the spectacle of lights and colors included a musical show called "A melody of peace for the Brazilian family."
An electronic carillon, imported from Italy and similar to the one used in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, has been installed within its structure to reproduce Christmas carols with bells played manually by professional bell-ringers. There are also fireworks scheduled for every Saturday until the end of the year.
The programming of the inaugural event, with a live television broadcast in real time by the Tree's hot site included a concert given by popular Brazilian artists such as singers Elba Ramalho, João Bosco, Roberta Sá and guitarist Turíbio Santos, as well as the Choir of the Bradesco Foundation, made up of 112 young students.
The American soprano Carol McDavit, who has been settled in Brazil for the past 20 years, also made an appearance.
At the top of the 85-meter (279-feet) tree, the star is now accompanied by two angels representing peace. The 52 kilometers (32 miles) of lighted strands are to evoke the Christmas theme, and 1,600 flashing lights are to evoke twinkling stars.
The second certification in the Guinness Book of Records, as the "largest floating Christmas tree in the world," was obtained because of the height of 85 meters in 2007 and recorded in the recently published 2009 edition.
At its launching in 1996, the tree was 48 meters (157 feet) high and up until the 2006 edition, 82 meters (269 feet). The first certification in the Guinness book was awarded in 1999, when this symbol of Christmas measured 76 meters (249 feet).
For the past three years, the Bradesco Christmas Tree has had generators fueled by biodiesel to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. For the third year, to ensure rationality in the consumption of fuel, the generators will be controlled by a computerized system.
Emissions of carbon gas into the atmosphere produced by the assembly, display and dismantling of the tree, the organizers say, will be neutralized by the planting of trees in regions of the Mata Atlântica rainforest, on the Brazilian coast.