On why Brazil’s independence is (not) celebrated

PT Independence coverEN

In America, the 4th of July is a festival of red, white, and blue. A day filled with fireworks and celebrations. The US and its inflated nationalism may not be the rule, but around the globe many countries celebrate the day their nation was founded.

But in Brazil the 7th of September, our independence day, is just like any other holiday: a day free from work. Some of us watch parades on the television, others are just too busy sipping caipirinhas on the beach to bother. I might sound too harsh, but I honestly don’t mean to criticize this behaviour. There is a reason why Brazilians are not particularly fond of our independence day. Because to the country’s citizens independence day meant nothing.

See how I used bold letters there? That’s just to emphasize how much I believe in that statement. Here’s why:

  • The declaration of independence: “Independence or death!”, was given by our Prince, D. Pedro I. Yes, a man from the Portuguese royalty declared Brazil’s independence.
  • D. Pedro I was the country’s leader before the independence. And kept on being after it.
  • Social aspect: After becoming independent, Brazil’s social order kept on being the same. The rural aristocracies kept all of the privileges they had before.
  • Civil rights: the giant farms were and kept on being cultivated by the work of slaves. Slavery was a reality in Brazil for the next 60 years after the country’s citizens were declared “independent”.

So it’s no wonder that the 7th of September is not a big deal for Brazilians. Because it never was, in fact, a big deal. So we take what we can get, a day of work to rest and party. This year, however, the holiday has fallen on Sunday. Thanks D. Pedro I.

[Português]

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