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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class - Holidays in Brazil Series at PortuguesePod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind holidays and observances in Brazil. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 16 “Black Awareness Day,” or Dia da Consciência Negra in Portuguese.
One of the ethnic groups that most aided Brazil’s development came from the African community, who for centuries served as slave labor in the country.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about Black Awareness Day, which is a day that reminds Brazil of its black roots.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
The slave trade in Brazil began in the mid-1530s. Do you know when slavery was abolished?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
November 20 is the date set as Black Awareness Day. It’s a time for reflection on the status of black people in Brazilian society and the role of “African culture,” or cultura africana in Portuguese, in the cultural fabric of the nation.
This day was chosen because of the death of Zumbi dos Palmares in 1695. He is the symbol of the black resistance to slavery.
Zumbi was born in the Palmares communities in what is now Alagoas State. Although he was born free, he was captured and worked as a slave for fifteen years before fleeing to the “Palmares,” or Quilombo dos Palmares. These were the communities of fugitive slaves who had escaped from plantations. He came to be a leader of the Quilombo, and earned fame fighting the Portuguese.
However, in 1694, his Quilombo was invaded by bands of “militant pioneers,” or bandeirantes in Portuguese. Zumbi fled but was captured and handed over to the pioneers, then was killed and beheaded on November 20, 1695.
In more than 400 municipalities, this date is now observed as a holiday. The day includes a variety of events celebrating African culture and remembering the hard times of slavery and the struggle of black people to achieve their freedom or equality. “Freedom” in Portuguese is liberdade, and “equality” is igualdade. The main events are concerts and shows featuring African and Afro-Brazilian music and museum exhibits. Some public lectures and educational events are also held.
Since 2012, the "Law of Quotas," or Lei das Cotas in Portuguese, has guaranteed minimum percentages of black, brown, indigenous, and low-income students in Brazilian federal universities in an effort to better absorb them into the social framework.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know when slavery was abolished?
The slow process of the abolition of slavery in Brazil began in 1850 with the Eusébio de Queirós Law, but it was only in 1888, with the signature of the Golden Law by Princess Isabel, that slavery was totally eradicated. “Slavery” is escravidão in Portuguese.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have any holidays dedicated to the ancestral culture of your country?
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