Sí£o Paulo, Brazil, Turns 453 and Gets 453-Meters-Long Cake

South America's largest and most dynamic city, São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil, celebrated this Thursday, January 25, its 453 anniversary with an eight tons cake shared by thousands of residents.

The orange and coconut cake, coated in cream and 453 meters (1781 feet) long, one for each year of the city took just over a minute to be distributed among citizens from the neighborhood of Bixiga that started the idea of the celebration party over a decade ago.

Residents queued along the Rua Rui Barbosa, a main street of Bixiga and following a symbolic candle blowing and a "Happy birthday dear São Paulo" chorus, were invited to a piece of the gigantic cake.

The Bixiga Society for the Defense of Traditions and Progress is the official organizer of the street party and according to president Walter Taverna, twenty chefs were involved in the operation.

The ingredients for the 453 meters long cake included 3.313 lbs of wheat flour; 1420 lbs of margarine; 1340 of sugar; 121 of grounded coconut, a similar volume of orange; 13.202 eggs and 304 gallons of milk. It took 48 for the cake to be prepared and another 82 to bake it.

A study by Seade (State System Foundation for Data Analyses) shows that São Paulo is growing much less these days. While the number of Paulistanos grew 1.1% a year during the 80s this rate should fall to 0.5% by 2010.

Still the city is by far the largest in the country and all of South America with 10.812 million residents. The number of residences in the city grew from 2.062 million 20 years ago to 3.368 million nowadays.

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