Zumbi dos Palmares

National Holidays in Brazil National Holiday in Brazil, celebrated on 20 November

National Holidays for Brazil

When is Black Awareness Day?

Since the 1960s, 20 November has been celebrated in Brazil as Black Awareness Day (or Black Conscious Day, Portuguese: Dia Nacional da Consciência Negra).

It is a day on which to reflect upon the injustices of slavery and to celebrate the contributions that have been made to Brazilian society by citizens of 'African' descent.

History of Black Awareness Day

The day has an additional special meaning as it honours 'Zumbi', a legendary black hero and freedom fighter.

Zumbi was born inside the largest colony of escaped slaves in Brazil in 1655.

The colony not only consisted of escaped African slaves but also of native Brazilian Indians and other mixed races.

The colony had an government system that organised similar to an African Kingdom with a King and Assembly. The King was chosen from the best warriors. "Zumbi" was chosen this way and under his leadership the colony fought bravely for 65 years against colonisers from Portugal and Holland and was finally destroyed in 1694.

Zumbi, managed to escape from the colony and many believed that he was immortal. He was finally captured on 20 November 1695. He was immediately beheaded and his head was put on public display to convince the locals he was not immortal.

Nowadays "Zumbi" is regarded as a national hero and a symbol of the struggle for freedom.

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