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What is Tiradentes Day in Brazil?

Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier (Tiradentes) is considered a hero among Brazilians, and thus has a holiday commemorating the day that he was hanged a martyr. Tiradentes was a large supporter of and actor in the Minas Conspiracy, which ultimately sought to end the monarchy and win independence for Brazil.

Tiradentes Day is one of the most significant holidays in Brazil, seeing the high stakes that Tiradentes sought after for the country. As you read through this article, you’ll uncover layers of Brazil’s history and culture that are vital for your understanding!

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1. Reading Practice: What is Tiradentes Day in Brazil?

Why is the holiday Tiradentes celebrated in Brazil? Read the Brazilian Portuguese text below to find out (you can find the English translation directly below it).

Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, mais conhecido como Tiradentes, foi o líder da Inconfidência Mineira, que aconteceu em Minas Gerais. O grupo, formado pela elite mineira, pretendia conquistar a liberdade e implantar um governo republicano. Mas um dia antes do movimento ser realizado, um dos inconfidentes delatou o grupo em troca do perdão por suas dívidas com a coroa.

Tiradentes assumiu responsabilidade total pela Inconfidência, e foi sentenciado pelo crime de traição contra o rei.

Devido ao crime gravíssimo, Tiradentes foi condenado à pena capital - a morte. Em 21 de abril de 1792, ele foi enforcado em praça pública na cidade do Rio de Janeiro.

Após executado, seu corpo foi esquartejado, e sua cabeça foi exposta em Vila Rica, e as demais partes distribuídas pela estrada que ligava o Rio de Janeiro a Minas Gerais, para intimidar a população e evitar novas revoltas. Sua casa foi queimada, seus bens confiscados, e jogaram sal no terreno para que nada lá brotasse.

Tiradentes é considerado herói nacional e o dia de sua morte é feriado em todo o país. Apesar disso, sua importância vem sendo esquecida, e a maioria das pessoas somente descansa e viaja nesse dia. A polícia civil e militar, onde Tiradentes é o patrono, celebra esse dia com homenagens a Tiradentes.

Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, commonly known as Tiradentes, was the leader of the Minas Conspiracy, which took place in Minas Gerais. The aim of the group, formed by the elite of Minas Gerais, was to win independence for Brazil and establish a republican government. However, one day before the conspirators were to put their plans into action, one of their number informed on them in exchange for exoneration from his debts against the crown.

Tiradentes assumed full responsibility for the Minas Conspiracy, and was sentenced for treason against the monarchy.

Because of how serious his crime, Tiradentes was sentenced to death. On April 21, 1792, he was hanged in a public square in Rio de Janeiro.

His body was quartered after execution, and his head was exhibited in Vila Rica, with his other body parts scattered along the road between Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, to intimidate the population and discourage any more revolts. His house was torched, his property confiscated, and salt thrown on the ground so that nothing would grow there.

Tiradentes went down in national history as a martyr and the day of his death is fêted as a public holiday countrywide. Furthermore, his importance has never been forgotten, and most people set that day aside for rest or travel.

The civil and military police, who adopted Tiradentes as their patron, celebrate the day with tributes to Tiradentes.

2. When is the Tiradentes holiday?

April 21 is Tiradentes Day

Each year in Brazil, Tiradentes Day is celebrated on April 21. This April 21 holiday in Brazil commemorates the hero Tiradentes on the day he was hanged.

3. How is Tiradentes Day Celebrated?

Silhouette of Person Carrying Flag

Another key event in the story of Tiradentes, the Minas Conspiracy martyr, is the renaming of a town in the state of Minas Gerais in his honor. For Tiradentes Day, Brazil celebrates Conspiracy Week annually with various commemorative events.

The flag adopted by the state of Minas Gerais was designed by members of the Minas Conspiracy. On it is the Latin phrase “Libertas ainda que Tardia” or “Freedom though Late.”

4. Additional Information: Pulling Teeth!

Can you guess what Tiradentes’ profession was by his nickname?

The nickname Tiradentes derives from one of his occupations—dentistry. He also worked as a herdsman, miner, trader, political activist, and was in the military. But despite his nickname, he did not like pulling teeth!

5. Must-know Vocab

Brazilian Republic Symbol

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Tiradentes Day in Brazil!

  • Tiradentes — “Tiradentes’ Day”
  • Tiradentes — “Tiradentes”
  • Inconfidência Mineira — “Minas Gerais Conspiracy”
  • Joaquim José da Silva Xavier — “Joaquim José da Silva Xavier”
  • Herói nacional — “National hero”
  • Vinte e um de abril — “April 21st”
  • Patrono da Polícia Militar — “Patron of the Military Police”
  • Mártir — “Martyr”
  • Enforcado — “Hanged”
  • Esquartejado — “Quartered”
  • República brasileira — “Brazilian Republic”

To hear each word pronounced, check out our Tiradentes’ Day vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about Tiradentes Day with us! What do you think about the patron’s story? Let us know in the comments!

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