The world's largest floating Christmas tree unveiled in Brazil
A colourful spectacle of fireworks and lights marked the launching of Rio de Janeiro's traditional floating Christmas tree on Saturday, December 12th.
Nearly 200,000 people looked on as the tree lit up for the 20th consecutive year in Rio's scenic lagoon.
The massive metal structure, recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest floating Christmas tree, is 174 feet tall and weighs 350 tonnes.
"(I came here to see) this tree light up. The expectation to see the fireworks going up in the sky was wonderful. It was a unique experience that I'll remember throughout my entire life," said Brazilian teacher, Adeilton Lima.
The lighting ceremony is nationally televised, packed with celebrities and ranks only behind New Year’s Eve and Carnival on the city’s list of most-watched events.
"We always come and I thought that the rain wasn't a problem. When we wish to see this beautiful moment, this ceremony and the fireworks, I think it (the rain) doesn't bother us," said Brazilian student, Lucas Lessa.
The massive structure uses 2.5 million micro light bulbs to create the three designs that were chosen for this season's tree -- blue rain drops, a world map and traditional holiday baubles.
In the coming weeks the floating tree will be moved around the lagoon so it can be viewed from different parts of the city.