Confederate festival in Brazilian Civil War colony faces ban

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  • A festival celebrating the Confederation is celebrated every year in the countryside of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
  • It takes place in a town where Confederate partisans fled after the Civil War and founded a colony of slaves.
  • A new city law on hate symbols could put an end to the festival, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

A new municipal law could mark the end of an annual Confederation celebration in rural Sao Paulo, Brazil, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

Festa Confederada, or Confederate festival, has been held in Santa Bárbara d’Oeste for four decades, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

Thousands of defeated Confederates went into exile in Brazil, unwilling to comply with the Union victory and subsequent emancipation of enslaved blacks, and established a colony near Santa Bárbara d’Oeste.

They bought hundreds of slaves and forced them to work for them in cotton fields until 1888, when Brazil became the last country in the Americas to outlaw slavery.

Now, at the site of a cemetery in the colony, descendants of American Confederates hold an annual festival.

people visit the grave at the confederate festival

People in period costume visit a settler’s grave in the American Cemetery during the annual Festa Confederada, or Confederate festival, in 2016.

Mario Tama/Getty Images


The festival features men and women dancing in period costumes to country music. Attendees use “Confederate dollars” to buy chicken and cookies, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

There are Confederate flags, including one of the largest in the world, on display at the festival, according to The Washington Post.

People dance on a confederate flag

People dance to a Confederate flag during the annual Festa Confederada, or Confederate Festival, in Brazil.

Mario Tama/Getty Images


But a municipal law, which prohibits the use of racist symbols in public holidays, could put an end to the festivities, according to the newspaper. A justification for legislation passed last month specifically named the festival, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

The leader of the Fraternidade Descendência Americana, a group that represents descendants of Confederate families, told the newspaper that he opposes the new law because he believes the Confederate flag does not represent slavery. “For us, the Confederate flag carries the symbolism of resistance to tyranny,” João Padovez said, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

A monument to Confederate settlers

A monument to Confederate settlers in Santa Barbara d’Oeste, Brazil.

Mario Tama/Getty Images


But activist Cláudia Monteiro da Rocha Ramos told the newspaper that the local chapter of Unegro, an anti-racism organization, is proposing that the Confederate flags be replaced with the modern American flag.

“After Charlottesville, [the US] The flag debate resonated in Brazil,” she said, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Unegro began mobilizing after the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, The Washington Post reported.

At the last Confederate festival in 2019, the last held due to COVID-19 cancellations, dozens of protesters gathered nearby to perform Afro-Brazilian dances, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

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