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Why is April 21srt a holiday in Brazil? Posted by on Apr 22, 2019 in Brazilian News, Brazilian Profile, Culture, Customs, History, Holidays, Holidays, Learning, Politics

What could an 18th-century dentist nicknamed Tiradentes (“Teeth Remover”) represent for the imaginary of an entire país (country)? In Brazil, a lot. Tiradentes is one of our most famous historical figures, a symbol of the conspiracy contra (against) the Portuguese governo (government), which became conhecido (known) as Inconfidência Mineira. While many countries are celebrating the feriado da páscoa (Easter holiday), Brazil also celebrated the holiday of Tiradentes on April 21srt, the date of his morte (death). But Tiradentes is lot more than um dia de folga (a day off) for Brazilians, let’s get to know about this historical figure a little more.


The city of Tiradentes

Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, the verdadeiro nome (true name) of Tiradentes, nasceu (was born) in a family of humble origins in the year 1746, in the village that today bears his name, located in the state of Minas Gerais. With the death of his parents, Joaquim José had to perform countless works throughout his vida (life), such as that of an amateur dentist, which gave him the nickname “Tiradentes” (Teeth remover) . It was by following a military carreira (career) that he achieved financial stability and, despite having little education, he was a convinced Republican and subscribed to ideals of the Iluminismo (Enlightenment). It is worth remembering that this is the same time that the Independence of the United States of America and the French Revolution were acontecendo (taking place), serving as inspiration for many Brazilian rebels.

The increase in impostos (taxes) by the Portuguese crown was one of the main reasons for the conspiracy plan, in which Tiradentes and his comrades of revolt planned to proclaim the independence of the present state of Minas Gerais. (Traído) Betrayed by one of the conspirators, only Joaquim José was condemned by the Portuguese Crown. His pena (penalty) was exemplary, he was enforcado (hanged) on April 21, 1792 in the city of Rio Janeiro and then quartered in parts. The parts of his corpo (body) were scattered along the estrada (road) that linked to the most important city of Minas Gerais and his cabeça (head) was displayed in a stake placed in the central praça (square). The violence of the condemnation of Tiradentes was motivated to conter (curb) further revolts and conspirators to try the same.

Today Tiradentes is a Brazilian martyr. Symbol of the luta (struggle) against oppression of the Portuguese government, he is homenageado (honored) in several cities with names of squares, statues, medals of honor and his face is even stamped on the 5 cent moeda (coin). The city where Tiradentes nasceu (was born) today bears his name and is one of the main tourist attractions in the state of Minas Gerais. With Baroque architecture, typical of the era of the republican hero, it preserves part of the history of Brazil in each of its vielas (alleys).

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