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Brazil: 278-foot floating Christmas tree sails into Rio's lagoon

Rio de Janeiro lights up its spectacular floating Christmas tree to kick off the holiday season.

Rio de Janeiro kicked off the Christmas season with fireworks over its towering floating Christmas tree that was lighted Saturday night in Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon.

OK, technically it's not a tree but an amazing connection of metal and lights that's no less dazzling than the real deal. It has more than 3 million lights and stands 278 feet tall.

For locals and visitors, the largest floating Christmas tree in the world (Guinness Book of Records says so) has come to symbolize the holidays in the Brazilian capital. The lighting is the city's biggest celebration after Carnaval and New Year's Eve.

This year's decorations make several color changes under the theme "A Christmas of Light."

Five generators on barges keep the tree's lights going: orange to represent sunrise, blue in its moon phase, green and gold as a Christmas tree with lighted candles, and stars that turn colors.

About 1,200 producers, engineers and artists worked on the 2014 tree sponsored by insurance company Bradesco Seguros.

It will move to different places in the lagoon and remain lighted until Jan. 6.

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