Brazilian Independence Day - Woohoo?

By 21:39 , , , , ,

Oh dear, I haven't written in a while, huh?

I guess I'll give some quick updates, then get to the point -

Fernando left for the United States a few weeks ago and has just started his freshman year of college (ah!), Work has been good except I've lost a student or two - one to unemployment and the other to NY! One of my students is heading to New York to work for a few months. Remember that nice boy I mentioned I'd been dating? Still am, and it's going strong. :-) And since I last wrote, I've been to the beach, seen a couple great bands, and decent play, and had great Indian food (which I hadn't had since getting to Brazil - aand the owner obviously thought I was Indian)!

Now, onto BRAZILIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY - 7 de Setembro, which was on Monday.

I didn't write about this last year because I went away for the weekend and to me, that was celebration enough... but one thing that's funny to me is how much people don't "celebrate," 7 de Setembro like they do the 4th of July. Granted Brazilians were feeling very patriotic this past weekend but it had nothing to do with the independence day. It had mostly to do with the Brazilian win over Argentina in soccer for the World Cup eliminatory match - granting Brazil a guaranteed spot in the 2010 World Cup and... well... it was Argentina! No really, you should've seen Maradona's face the entire game.

Anywho - I caught myself contemplating on why we don't really celebrate Independence Day here in Brazil. I mean, there are no parades (well, rumor is there is one... somewhere), no fireworks, no sales, etc. et al. Of course there are still packed beaches, and the day off - God forbid Brazilians not have a day off on a holiday (I love it). But for Brazilians outside of the US, it's the biggest day of the year! "Brazilian Day," in New York is always the Sunday before Labor Day and attracts a million people every year. There are "Independence Day" parties at Brazilian clubs, churches, town centers in Brazilian dominated communities and much more. For me, it was the biggest day of the year in the U.S. I would be extremely upset every year that I was in college when move in day was always right on the Sunday before Labor Day, and when I wasn't moving into college, I was in NY in the middle of the crowd, and the week after, I was helping out at my town's festivities.

So why the two extremes? My guess is...

Brazil didn't really have to fight for its independence. It was kind of just handed down to us by Portugal's Dom Pedro in 1822 when his dad asked him to go back to Portugal - it was more of an emancipation than anything, no? So there really isn't much to celebrate, per se. It was the day in which the Portuguese declared they were shipping out and all the problems they left in Brazil were in the hands of whoever decided to stay. Granted I'm oversimplifying this - but if you compare the Brazilian "independence," to any other South American independence, à la Símon Bolívar, then you know where I'm coming from.

I would assume that because of this, historically, September 7th has been like any other holiday which isn't really celebrated - like... ironically, Labor Day (which is another story - why is everything different int he US?!)?

And now the ex-pats. I think it's wrong to label people who leave their countries as ex-pats. These people are the most patriotic you'll ever meet!! I've always argued that since I was never accepted as an "American," in the US, I was more patriotic as a Brazilian than anything because wherever I went and there were Brazilians, there was no question as to why I was there or "where I was from," but just an overall feeling of solidarity. And then there's the whole missing Brazilian "things," feeling you get when you're outside of your home country. Since you lack it in your day-to-day, whenever an opportunity arises, you want to have Brazilian food, listen to the music, and wear yellow and green and not have it look like an awkward combination of colors...

This is where all the patriotism comes from Brazilians in the US. The Americans are so keen on being patriotic on July 4th that it's almost a legitimate excuse for Brazilians to be the same way on our independence day - and American accept that - because after all, since most Americans know nothing about Brazilian history, it must have been quite a struggle in their eyes. :-P

At least those are my two cents.

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