Black Awareness Day Brazil

20 de noviembre día de la conciencia negra en Brasil

Hey galera! Everything’s good? Do you know what we celebrate on 20th of November? It is Black Awareness Day in Brazil, a day to celebrate awareness of the black community for the journey and circumstances their ancestors came to Brazil and the wealth of contribution to the country and society, that has in the past not always been recognized.

When is Black Awareness Day in Brazil?

Days of the week Date Month Year
Friday 20 November 2020
Saturday 20 November 2021
Sunday 20 November 2022
Monday 20 November 2023
Wednesday 20 November 2024
Thursday 20 November 2025
Friday 20 November 2026
Saturday 20 November 2027
Monday 20 November 2028
Tuesday 20 November 2029
Wednesday 20 November 2030

The Black Awareness Day in Brazil

The date of Black Consciousness Day Brazil was chosen because one of  the greatest civil rights activist in Brazil: Zumbi dos Palmares. This is the anniversary of his death. He fought bravely against slavery. The special date to celebrate Zumbi was established in 2003, but was only made official in 2011.

More than just a celebration, it is a day to think about the position that Black people have in society then and now. The past generations who have suffered (and still suffer) through racist acts, despite the abolition of slavery in 1888, discrimination still continues. It’s a day dedicated to fight racism and defend Black people’s rights and respect in society.

The National Black Awareness Day is only a public holiday in some Brazilian states such as Rio de Janeiro, Alagoas, Amazonas, Amapá, Mato Grosso do Sul and Rio Grande do Sul.

Zumbi dos Palmares

The leader in the fight against slavery in Brazil was Zumbi dos Palmares, who was not born into slavery but was born in a Quilombo. Quilombos were communities where people who had been enslaved and managed to escape, lived together in freedom. There, he fought until his death in defence of his people against the oppressors who enslaved them.

Quilombo dos Palmares was located on a long strip of land, stretching about 200 kilometres, near the coast; between the Cape of Santo Agostinho in Pernambuco, and the northern part of the São Francisco River, now in the state of Alagoas. Zumbi dos Palmares died on November 20, 1695, at the age of 40.

Black Awareness and its History

The various African groups who came to Brazil in the early 16th century did not recognize themselves as black (as we recognize today), but as Bantos, Hauzas, Kanembus, Fulas, and so on, referring to the ethnic groups to which they belonged.

After the formal abolition of slavery on May 13, 1888, freed black people had to now confront a new fight: the fight for equality and civil rights.

This feeling of discrimination alienated black people from society, education, and consequently marginalized them in the labor market. Over time, the discrimination has decreased and black people began to have opportunities in sports, in the arts, but not so much in high society or the ruling class.

The Black population campaigned for a symbolic celebration of the constant struggle for their release, and for the end of discrimination and prejudice. The creation of Black Awareness Day in Brazil is a way to value the brave people that contributed so much to the Brazilian culture and who were unjustly enslaved by the white man.

As of January 2003, the Federal Law 10,369 established National Black Awareness/Consciousness Day in the school calendar and teaching Afro-Brazilian culture became a part of the curriculum for all schools in the country, and now incorporates typical activities and projects that celebrate the history of African Americans.

Additionally, there is also the intention to make the population aware of the importance of black people socially, historically and culturally in Brazil.

An important reminder! Unlike many other languages, in Portuguese the word NEGRO is not offensive!




How to fight against racism?

The racial issue in Brazil is very important and can be complicated, so in our classes we try to teach our students about it and we can recommend you some authors for you to read. We must understand that racism is not an issue for black people but for society as a whole.

So what can we do fight against it? As we are learning Portuguese online, we’ll show you some expressions that are considered to be racist, but still used by many Brazilians on a daily basis. That way you’ll know how to replace them with appropriate expressions.

  • Expression: Mercado negro = black market
    Associates the color black to something criminal.
    Change to: Clandestine market/ illegal market
  • Expression: Lista negra = black list
    Associates the color black to bad behaviour.
    Change to: Forbidden list / bad list
  • Expression: Humour negro = black humour
    Associates the color black to unfortunate situations.
    Change to:  Acid humor
  • Expression: morena(o)  = dark or light skin
    Many people feel uncomfortable with these terms because they are a way of whitening of black skin.
    Change to: Do not use these terms.
  • Expression: Cabelo duro = frizzy/hard/stiff hair
    Often used to describe afro curly hair. There is no such thing as hard or bad hair, right? All hair is beautiful 🙂
    Change to: Curly hair / Afro hair.
  • Expression: Mulata(o)
    This if often used to describe people with light black skin. In addition to being a way to whiten black skin, this word referes to mula (mule – animal that is a cross between a mare and a donkey).
    Change to: Do not use these terms.

As we said above, these words are still common in Brazilian society, but more and more people are starting to gain more conscious and fight against what’s wrong even if it is consolidated in our society.

It is not enough not to be racist, we have to be anti-racists.

Vocabulary of the Black Awareness Day in Brazil

Luta Fight
Escravidão Slavery
Sociedade Society
Preconceito Racist act / Discrimination 
Líder Leader
Quilombo Village of escaped slaves
Abolição Abolition
Libertos Freed
Igualdade de direitos Equal rights
Discriminação Discrimination
Marginalizado Marginalized
Libertação Release
Cultura afro-brasileira Afro-Brazilian Culture
Currículo escolar School Curriculum
Conscientizar To be aware
Ofensiva Offensive
 Gerações Passadas Past generations 
 Racismo Racism 
Alienar To alienate
 Oportunidades Opportunities 
 Valorizar To value 
Lei Federal Federal Law

Want to learn more about Brazilian’s culture? Come have Portuguese classes with us!

Now it’s your turn!

You’ve learned a lot today, now it’s time to practice your Portuguese! Say if the sentences below are true or false according to what you read. You have to put a (C) if it is correct and a (E) if it’s false. Don’t forget to rewrite the wrong sentences correctly!

  1. A data do Dia da Consciência Negra foi escolhida aleatoriamente. (  )
  2. Essa data só foi oficializada em 2010. (  )
  3. Os Quilombos eram lugares onde as pessoas que foram escravizadas moravam após escapar. (  )
  4. O Quilombo dos Palmares estava situado no Rio de Janeiro. (  )
  5. A escrivão foi abolida em 13 de maio de 1888. (  )
  6. O Dia Nacional da Consciência Negra no Brasil faz parte do calendário escolar. (  )
  7. Ensinar cultura afro-brasileira faz parte do currículo escolar. (  )
  8. Em Português a palavra negro é ofensiva. (  )

That’s it! Did you like learning a bit more about Brazilian History and Culture? Have you ever celebrated the Black Consciousness Day in Brazil?

See you in the next Dica!


Ler esta Dica em Português   Leer esta Dica en Español
Click on the links to see more related Dicas
Months in Portuguese
Holidays in Brazil
Our Lady of Aparecida Day in Brazil
Independence Day in Brazil


  1. A data do Dia da Consciência Negra foi escolhida aleatoriamente. ( E )
    Foi escolhida em homenagem ao Zumbi dos Palmares.
  2. Essa data só foi oficializada em 2010. ( E )
    Foi em 2011.
  3. Os Quilombos eram lugares onde as pessoas que foram escravizadas moravam após escapar. ( C )
  4. O Quilombo dos Palmares estava situado no Rio de Janeiro. ( E )
    O Quilombo dos Palmares estava situado entre Pernambuco e Alagoas.
  5. A escrivão foi abolida em 13 de maio de 1888. ( C )
  6. O Dia Nacional da Consciência Negra no Brasil faz parte do calendário escolar. ( C )
  7. Ensinar cultura afro-brasileira faz parte do currículo escolar. ( C )
  8. Em Português a palavra negro é ofensiva. ( E )
    Essa palavra não é ofensiva em Português.

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