Saudade Day in Brazil

January 30 is Saudade Day in Brazil. Saudade is a longing for something or someone who may never return. It’s not known why it is celebrated on January 30, but as it is celebrated Brazil, it could be a longing for Portugal.

The day is also interestingly associated with human rights and the improvement of the human condition. First of all it is the birthday in 1882 of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the occasion of the famous Birthday Balls, to gather donations for finding a cure for polio.

It is also the birthday in 1919 of Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu a Japanese-American who challenged orders of forcible interment of Japanese Americans during WWII. He was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order.

He appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, who ruled against him in 1944. However in 1983, Peter Irons, a legal historian, and researcher Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, discovered documents that consistently showed that Japanese Americans had committed no acts of treason to justify mass incarceration. On November 10, 1983, Korematsu’s conviction was overturned in a federal court in San Francisco.

Fred Korematsu Day is celebrated in California, Hawaii, Virginia, Florida, and Illinois, and other states have bills to that affect pending in their respective legislatures.

On January 30 1948, Mahatma Ghandi in 1948 was assassinated, and it is celebrated in India as Martyr’s Day.

Saudade (Longing), by José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior, oil on carvas, 1899. Displayed in the Penacoteca do Estado de São Paulo.

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