Brazilian Independence Day

Brazil’s Independence Day is fast approaching, as it falls on September 7! One of the biggest celebrations outside of Brazil is the Brazilian Day festival, which was on August 31 this year. Brazilian Day is always the Sunday of Labor Day weekend in the USA; it has become a global festival with locations in NYC, Los Angeles, San Diego, Montreal, Toronto, Tokyo, and London, and draws a million of Brazilians and non-Brazilians as well.

It’s a huge festival in New York, and it takes over 25 blocks around the area called Little Brazil in Midtown Manhattan, filling the streets with green and yellow, samba music, drums and dancers. There is, of course typical food including the delicious “acarajé”, a black-eyed pea fritter spread with a sauce made from chilies and dried shrimp, and concerts of famous Brazilian bands and singers. The festival also has always showcased arts and crafts from Brazil in various stands around the festival.

This year the event celebrated its 30th anniversary with the performance of one of the most acclaimed Brazilian singers, Ivete Sangalo. The sea of frenetic people dancing and singing along to Ivete’s big hits didn’t seem to be bothered by the hot August sun, nor by the rain that later on poured down on the tireless crowd.

This is the fifth time I will be spending Brazil’s Independence Day in NY, and it’s still mind blowing to see the magnitude of the celebrations abroad. “Sete de Setembro”, which is what us Brazilians call this national holiday, is not commemorated with such a big party in Brazil. Celebrations are held in all Brazil’s capitals and it usually includes a military parade and an air show. In the big cities people prefer to get away, taking full advantage of the holiday. In the small towns the celebrations usually are bigger and more patriotic.

For a Brazilian who has been living in the US for almost 10 years, it’s always exciting to see my culture being spread and celebrated around the world. One of the cool aspects of living in New York is the cultural diversity of this city and the possibility to be exposed to so many different traditions, and learn a bit about other cultures. I believe the Brazilian Day festival is a great opportunity for non-Brazilians to get a glimpse of Brazilian culture, and for Brazilians to feel a bit closer to our homeland.

Check out our infographic below with some quick facts and trivia about Brazilian Independence Day!

by Mike Lee