The holiday season kicked off in Rio de Janeiro with the lighting of the world's largest floating Christmas tree in the heart of the city.Over 100,000 people flocked to the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon to watch a 6-minute fireworks show, which has become one of Rio's main tourist attractions.
This year, the gigantic 85-metre high metal structure built by Brazil's largest insurance company surprised the public with a decoration based on the four seasons of the Earth.
The 542 tonne structure was dressed up with images of leaves representing the fall, snowflakes to portray winter, flowers related to spring and gold ribbons to represent the summer.
There were also colourful knots tied up with balloons illuminated by 3.1 million light bulbs.
With the mountaintop Christ the Redeemer statue looking down on it, the treestands as a brightly flashing symbol of peace in the city that is often shaken by episodes of violence.The Christmas tree was first erected in 1996 and its lighting became Rio's third biggest tourist event after Carnival festivities and New Year's Eve on Copacaban beach.
More than a million people are expected to view the structure before the lights are turned off on Three King's Day on January 6.
The Guinness Book of Records lists it as the world's largest floating Christmas tree. In comparison, the Christmas tree in New York's Rockefeller Centre is 22.5 metres tall and has 30,000 lights, although it is a real Norwegian spruce.