Brazilian Culture On Full Display Last Saturday


S. Vargas

One of the performance stages at the Brazilian Day Festival.

S. Vargas, Staff Writer

I had the opportunity to witness the first annual Brazilian Day Festival on Saturday, September 7th in Durham Park in Durham, NC. There was a colorful parade, amazing food, and live music (you can check the itinerary here). Musical performances included “Baterias de Samba” (samba drum and musician groups) playing in the street with traditional Brazilian dancers. There were also street vendors who were selling traditional Brazilian clothing. This is the first time this festival, which, which according to the Brazil day Website, originally started in New York in 1984, has taken place in North Carolina. 

As with any Brazilian event, you could see the proud Brazilians wearing their famous soccer team colors, many also dancing to the contagious samba music. You couldn’t help but think about the Rio de Janeiro Carnival, which takes place each year before Lent, beginning the Friday before Ash Wednesday, where the most famous Samba dancing schools in Rio inundate the city to show their amazing talent. 

September is a very special month for Brazilian immigrants because they celebrate Brazilian independence. According to historians, on September 7, 1822, Prince Dom Pedro declared Brazil’s independence from Portugal, founding the Empire of Brazil, which led to a two-year war of independence. Formal recognition came with a treaty signed by both Brazil and Portugal in late 1825.

The festival allows participants to celebrate their history, and also to share their culture with their local communities. 

Festival participants were able to enjoy traditional Brazilian dishes like Picanha (barbecued meat) and Feijoada, a rich, hearty stew made with different cuts of pork and black beans. There were also capoeira workshops, demonstrating a system of physical discipline and movement originating among Brazilian slaves, which developed into a martial art and dance form. 

The festival was a spectacular showing of Brazilian culture and a successful community event.