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What do Brazilians celebrate on September 7th? Posted by on Sep 9, 2019 in Brazilian News, Brazilian Profile, Culture, Customs, History, Holidays, Holidays, Politics

Ei, gente! Hey, guys! This sete de setembro (September 7), Brazil completed 197 anos (years) of our declaration of independence. The date is symbolic for the nation as it concerns the separation from Portugal, for which the best known image is that of Dom Pedro I, heir to the Portuguese empire, on the banks of the Ipiranga Brook shouting the following sentence: Independência ou Morte! (Independence or death!). If you would like to remember what Brazil’s independence history was like, you can click here:

O Grito do Ipiranga – Brazil’s Independence Day

Brazilian Independence Day

 

September 7th: Brazil’s Independence Day

If this supposed heroic act reverberated in the nation’s independence, what does such patriotism mean today in times of intense crisis provoked by the governo brasileiro (Brazilian government)?

While in the United States July 4th is a date when familia e amigos (family and friends) get together to celebrate, and homes and streets are adorned with decorations in the colors of the American flag, celebrations in Brazil are not so popular. The feriado (holiday) comes down to military desfiles (parades), where people gather to sing the hino nacional (national anthem). However, this year’s ceremonies gained another contour following the successive political, environmental, economic and diplomatic crisis Brazil is undergoing.

desfile de sete de setembro

Desfile de Sete de Setembro (Ministério da Defesa [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)])

Since his campaign, current President Jair Bolsonaro has always sold himself as a patriot, which can be seen in his campaign motto: Brasil acima de tudo, Deus acima de todos (Brazil above everything, God above everything). In his first September 7th as president, Bolsonaro tried to soften his growing decline in popularity with Brazilians by calling for patriotic manifestações (demonstrations) on Independence Day. He asked everyone to wear the cores (colors) of the Brazilian bandeira (flag), verde e amarelo (green and yellow), to show that he still has the population’s apoio (support). This request is not unheard of in recent Brazilian history. During the 1990s, in the midst of an equally serious political crisis, then-President Collor made the same request, who reacted the opposite way, going all de preto (in black). This was one of the turning points that led former President Collor to impeachment.

Similarly, compliance to Jair Bolsonaro’s outcry seems to be limited to the shrinking core of his supporters (according to recent surveys, currently over 40% disapprove of the current government), and this could be seen in the reaction of the people. As with Collor, o tiro saiu pela culatra (the plan backfired). Instead of going in green and yellow, many Brazilians performed in the independence parades vestindo (wearing) black clothes, in protest against the government and especially about their neglect of the Amazon.

So, what do you think about this reaction to President Jair Bolsonaro’s request? Do you believe that patriotic celebrations should be detached from politics? Leave us a comment!

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