A number of Brazilian residents identify as either Black or of mixed racek as determined by a controversial census survey. However, South America’s largest country widely celebrates Black Brazilians annually with “Black Awareness Day.”
Black Awareness Day was founded in the 60s and was typically celebrated in May to coincide with the abolition of slavery in the nation.
The day was moved to November 20 to coincide with the death of Zumbi dos Palmares, an African-Brazilian who was the king of a group of settlers of African descent that liberated themselves from slavery under the Portuguese. Zumbi famously clashed with Portuguese forces losing the battle and his life, but his courage and sacrifice was symbolic for many.
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Brazil has been criticized for its archaic means of determining ethnic groups, using the terms of “White,” “Black,” “Brown,” or “Yellow” as identifiers. Many Brazilians see themselves as “mulatto” or mixed and reportedly held a slight numbers advantage over the majority of residents who are of European descent.
The country recognizes other groups with national holidays such as “Mixed Race Day” and “Indian Day,” although, unlike Black Awareness Day, none of the holidays are celebrated nationwide and vary from state to state.
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