Tiradentes Day in Brazil

Tiradentes Day in Brazil

Reading Comprehension for April 21

The holiday celebrated on April 21 in Brazil has a funny name. It is called Tiradentes Day. The word tiradentes means "tooth puller." Why is there a holiday named after a tooth puller? The dentist remembered on that day was an important - maybe the most important - dentist in all of Brazil's history. His name was Joaquim José da Silva Xavier.

Silva Xavier was born in 1746 in São José del Rei in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Both his parents died when he was young, so his godfather adopted him. He studied a lot when he was young and tried his hand at many different professions. He was a cattle driver, a miner, and yes, a dentist. But his most important profession would be a truly unique job. It was the job of a revolutionary.

What is a revolutionary? It is a person who believes strongly in change. Not just any change, but big and fast change - revolution. Silva Xavier believed the government of Brazil needed change. At the time, the European country of Portugal was ruling Brazil. Silva Xavier and many other Brazilians thought this wasn't fair. They didn't like the way Portugal ruled, particularly when it came to taxes.

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