There’s a Town in Brazil that Embraces the Confederate Flag

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Santa Bárbara d’Oeste is a little city in São Paulo, Brazil.

The city of almost 200,000 residents is rather quiet and undisturbed.

But they have a curious tradition: they celebrate American Confederate heritage.

#festaconfederada #cemiteriodosamericanos ???

A photo posted by Rafael Muller Vidote (@rafaelvidote) on

Residents of Santa Bárbara D’Oeste celebrate the Festa Confederada, which honors their Confederate ancestors who fled to Brazil after losing the Civil War. Why Brazil? The Brazilian government promised them cheap land to grow the country’s cotton business.

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They eat fried chicken and biscuits…

Cowboy hat? Check. Biscuits and gravy? Check. Confederate flag? Check.

Confederate money is alive and well…

Festival goers exchange money for Confederate banknotes to buy things at Festa Confederada.

They celebrate it as a family…

Attendees can trace their lineage to some of the Confederate families and slaves that fled to South America after the Civil War.

They square dance dressed as Confederate soldiers and Southern Belles…

#FestaConfederada #XVIIFestaConfederada #dance

A video posted by Thalis Lowchinovscy (@thalisnovscy) on

Someone’s fiddle lessons paid off.

And also embrace current Southern culture…

Doesn’t get any more country than line dancing to Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee” while wearing t-shirts and jeans.

They also present the flags of all 13 Confederate states.

That would be Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia…in case you were wondering.

The official flag of the Confederate States of America gets a special presentation.

But the flag only represents heritage, not hate. At least if you ask anyone who attends Festa Confederada.

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João Leopoldo Pardoveze has been celebrating Festa Confederada for 25 Years.

1900 e bolinha #oldphoto #confederados #confederate #oldbutgood

A photo posted by João Leopoldo Padoveze (@jlpadoveze) on

Here he is in 1990.

Minha parceira @gabiifurlan #festaconfederada #150anos #imigracaoamericana #confederados #confederate #rebelandproudofit

A photo posted by João Leopoldo Padoveze (@jlpadoveze) on

And here he is in 2015. Padoveze is the descendant of slaves and takes great pride in celebrating the Confederacy. Yes, you read that right.

Some don’t even know why their ancestors fled to Brazil

Glamour Brazil Editor Beatrice Stopa (the one in the Confederate Flag dress) “embarrassingly” told VICE: “I know they came. I don’t really know the reason. Is it because of racism? Don’t tell my grandmother!”

Festival goers say Festa Confederada is simply a celebration of heritage, nothing more.

Yellow Roses… Festa Confederada — 150 anos imigração americana #FestaConfederada

A photo posted by Joyce Kembe (@jtaunay) on

The festival, which brings in more than 2,500 people, doesn’t appear to have the racial undertones most Americans would assume it has –  it’s seen more as kitschy party. You may see a Johnny Cash T-shirt, hear some George Strait or see a Confederate flag. For these Brazilians, this flag is simply a reminder of how they got to Brazil.

Asher Levine of Reuters, who works in Sao Paulo, told PRI: “A lot of people who are descendants of these confederates have African blood as well. So you’ll see at the party people with dark skin waving the confederate flag.”

What do you think about this Confederate heritage celebration? mitú wants to know.  Leave a comment below.

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