Brazil's answer to the vuvuzela? Not quite. The "official musical instrument of the 2014 World Cup" is softer—it produces a rattle, not a blare. Another thing in favor of your viewing experience: it's been formally banned from Brazilian stadiums. But that hasn't stopped fans from bringing them in so far, so you might as well get acquainted with the sound that's going to haunt your dreams for the next month:
The 2012 introduction of the caxirola (ca-shee-roe-la) was controversial enough—it's basically the caxixi, a traditional Brazilian percussion instrument, with finger-holes. But slap a FIFA logo on it, put it in the colors of every nation's flag, and charge $13.99, and you've get a whole bunch of Brazilians complaining about their cultural heritage being branded for profit.
Those finger-holes, by the way, had the accidental side effect of making the caxirola an excellent substitute for brass knuckles. The thing is still heavy. In some awesome-sounding tests by Brazil's Federal Police, they chucked a bunch of them out of the upper deck of a stadium and announced that the chance of a serious head injury for someone below reached 80 percent.
At a match last year in which caxirolas were given out to fans, they pelted the pitch before kick-off.
The caxirola has since been re-designed to make it safer, with soft finger loops and an inflatable body instead of a hard plastic shell. So you won't die under a pile of them. But even so, they were banned for the Confederations Cup (for "safety reasons"), and that ban has not been officially lifted.
They'll make it into the stadiums. They're small, and now they're soft and elastic, so it's no big thing to shove it into some crevice to get it past security. They will be there, and they will be loud. If the 2010 tournament seemed like it was played inside a beehive, this year's will be the Rice Krispies World Cup. And if you're watching at home? It'll sound like constant TV static. That'll be fun.