The world's largest floating Christmas tree has been lighted in Rio de Janeiro during an event that featured lights, music and fireworks.

Thousands of people turned out on Saturday night for the lighting of the Christmas tree, whose theme is the four seasons.

The 542-ton tree is 85 meters (almost 280 feet) tall and was built on 11 enormous platforms in Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon.

The Christmas tree, which is being illuminated by 3.1 million lights, was officially certified by Guinness World Records as the largest of its kind in the world, Bradesco Seguros, which sponsored the tree, said.

The tree includes an adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz," with Dorothy, the Wizard and the other characters taking a virtual trip to Jerusalem, Rome, Moscow, New York, London and Rio de Janeiro to experience Christmas around the world.

A performance of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" ended the tree-lighting ceremony, which marked the official start of the holiday season in Rio de Janeiro. EFE