Some 50,000 biodegradable balloons stained today the sky of downtown Sao Paulo yellow, blue, green and orange during a celebration that, for 26 years, says goodbye to the end of a cycle and welcomes the incoming year.
In a meeting convened by the Commercial Association of Sao Paulo (ACSP), the merchants of the most populated and developed city of Brazil dismissed the "enormous challenges" faced in 2018 and celebrated the "conquests" planned in 2019, as explained by the president of the entity, Alencar Burti.
"In 2018, Brazil and the Brazilians faced enormous challenges and, therefore, this year's (balloon) design pays homage to that country we love so much," Burti was quoted as saying in a statement.
In a year marked by political uncertainty in the midst of the most unpredictable elections of recent decades, traders commemorated the consolidation, still weak, of the Brazilian economy after years of severe recession.
Likewise, the category celebrated the recovery of consumer confidence and the increase in sales in commercial establishments, especially in the weeks before the Christmas holidays.
Purchases for Christmas in the commercial centers of Brazil grew by 5.5% in 2018 compared to the previous year and some 73,000 temporary jobs were generated, according to the Brazilian Association of Merchants of Shopping Centers.
Similarly, retail sales in Brazil grew by 2.2% in the first ten months of the year and 2.7% in the last 12 months, according to official data.
The event organized by the Commercial Association of Sao Paulo began in 1991, when some delivery workers who worked at the institution threw chopped papers from the windows of the building.
In the following year, the workers chose to drop about 100 balloons, which soon became an annual tradition. The São Paulo Commercial Association then went on to organize the activity in an official manner and moved the balloon locker to the courtyard of a historic building located in the heart of Sao Paulo.