by Bianca Otávio
To commemorate the US American Black History Month, we decided to make this an international topic and asked all our teachers to include topics and games on Black history and black immigration throughout all continents at all times into their language classes. Our coordinator Bianca Otávio wrote a blog-post for us, explaining Brazilian culture and how it is deeply influenced by African culture. Enjoy reading her article!
It’s not new that Brazil, even with its mix of nationalities, is known to have its majority population declaring themselves as brown or black, since it was one of the countries which had brought in more slaves and the last one to abolish slavery. That’s why, even nowadays, Brazil is so connected with African traditions, reflecting what became the culture of the country.
We can notice it just by looking at the most common Brazilian traditions, like the music style Samba, foods such as Feijoada, the religious background of many, which we can identify as a mix of catholic and African gods, and of course also parties such as Carnival, the most famous festivity of the country. All those things mentioned here have their origins in or are influenced by Africa, although Carnival in a more traditional sense is connected to some Irish cults. These traditions spread throughout the country, mixing with the Italians, Germans, Portugueses, and other nationalities, making the population so diverse, rich, and unique compared to other countries in the world, creating a national identity of Brazialians.
However, the black influences are deeper, and it doesn't matter if people are black or white or Asian: if they are Brazilian, then they live this culture without noticing it. Some people may even not like to dance Samba, but probably they like to eat Feijoada, or pray for Our Lady Revealed, or in Portuguese, Nossa Senhora Aparecida, the patroness of Brazil whose image is black. There are many other cultural connotations and practices which even those who have prejudice exercise without knowing about the African origins.
Unfortunately, even with this rich heritage of black culture, there is still plenty of preconception in the country. Poverty still affects the black population. The descendants of Africans, responsible for making Brazil be what it is, still fight for their rights. However, until these people don’t receive the equal access as they deserve, we can reinforce every day that if it wasn't for the black culture, Brazil would never be so interesting.
In Brazil, unlike in the USA, they commemorate the Day of Black Awareness in November. However, each day is important to remember the influences brought by our African ancestors not only to Brazil, but all over the world, and maybe one day we can not just remember, but celebrate together in any month, week or day, without thinking about a person’s skin color at all.