LONDON (Reuters) - Dancing to the beat alongside a Brazilian on Copacabana beach on New Year’s Eve appears to be the dream way to ring in 2013 if a global survey of 17,000 people is any indicator.
The survey conducted by social network Badoo.com (www.badoo.com) across 17 countries and four continents showed Brazilians were considered the top nationality the rest of the world would most like to share New Year’s with.
Americans ranked second in the poll, with Spaniards, Italians and the French coming third, fourth and fifth. Belgians and Swiss ranked joint last.
“This seems harsh on the Swiss and Belgians”, Badoo director Louise Thompson said. “But I can understand that most people would rather celebrate New Year’s Eve on a beach in Brazil than by huddling against the cold in northern Europe.”
New Year’s Eve falls in the middle of Brazil’s summer, which makes the climate perfect for huge, outdoor parties of the kind Brazilians enjoy attending with friends or family to welcome the new year.
The festivities are held in cities across the country, but Rio is judged to have the best, including Brazil’s most famous New Year’s Eve event - the giant gathering on Copacabana beach, attended annually by some 2.5 million revelers and widely considered the best New Year’s Eve party in the world.
Spanish also gather en masse on New Year’s Eve in Puerta del Sol in Madrid, where both those present and many more watching at home listen to the clock chime 12 times while eating one grape on each chime, to bring prosperity for the new near.
The Italians, who ranked fourth in the Badoo poll, brought a more romantic flavor to New Year’s Eve gatherings by staging a mass kiss in Venice’s Piazza San Marco.
None of these gatherings, however, can match the scale of the festivities on Rio’s Copacabana beach, which are also famed for their spectacular fireworks display. Ocean liners are known to moor nearby to watch.
For those near the beach on New Year’s Eve, the tradition in Brazil is to jump seven waves at midnight while throwing flowers in the sea and making a wish - one wish for each wave.
Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, also boasts a giant New Year’s Eve party, held in Paulista Avenue and attended by over a million merrymakers. Only in Brazil could a party this big rank second best.
There may, however, be one way Europeans can claim to surpass the Brazilians on New Year’s Eve, which is when it comes to clothes.
Brazilians traditionally dress in white on New Year’s Eve, to bring luck for the new year. This tradition turns Rio’s Copacabana beach into a giant carpet of white.
Both the Spanish and Italians, however, take a more colorful approach - welcoming the New Year by observing the local custom of wearing red underwear for good luck.
Badoo is a site for chatting, flirting, dating and meeting new people, with 168 million users across over 180 countries.
Reporting by Paul Casciato