Today we’re talking about revolutions and the importance of knowing our history. At the end of this article, you’ll find ideas for any family, as well as links to resources in Portuguese because 25 April is the anniversary of the Portuguese Carnation Revolution. Having said that, the spirit of this article, of not letting the distance from our home country let us forget about the darker side of history, is valid for any bilingual or expat family.
The Carnation Revolution
On the 25th of April, Portugal celebrates the Carnation Revolution, a military coup that toppled the fascist-leaning regime. Portugal’s dictatorship was one of the longest lasting authoritarian regimes in Europe and the bloodless revolution brought an end to nearly 50 years of oppression and isolation from the rest of the world.
There is a list of resources below but first, lets talk about why it’s this is an important date to celebrate.
Lest we forget – why these anniversaries are important
I was born shortly after the revolution. I was lucky to be born into a free country, where women could vote and travel.
I have family members who lived through the dictatorship. Our children, however, and the children of parents from my generation – probably you, dear reader – will not have as vivid accounts of that period.
The bigger the distance from an event, the easier it is to forget. And forgetting history means we could let ourselves sleepwalk into another authoritarian regime. Frankly, given recent developments on the world stage, this is far from fanciful conspiracy theory. It’s an uncomfortable reality.
And the fact is, that, many of us, expats or emigrants, will not have as much contact with the culture, media, and political news from back home. I myself, until recently, was too busy enjoying the spoils of an open globalised world and the benefits of living in a multicultural world-class city like London.
And that, my friends, makes it so much easier to forget important celebrations like National Days and historic events.
And why they matter to our children
The future is theirs. And they can only make the most of it, and defend it, if they are well-informed citizens. They need to know about politics, geopolitics, economics, technology and so much more.
For them to be active players in their future, it’s important that they know how the political system works and how they can play their role. And never, ever, take their vote for granted.
Some of these things they may touch upon in the community school. What they will certainly not hear about is their heritage and history. Not unless you, the parent, and extended family, make it your mission to do so.
Given recent events around the world, even the most politically apathetic need to be engaged to some extent. At the very list take an interest, show up and vote.
3 May 2018
That’s the date of the next local elections in the UK. It will be the last opportunity of EU citizens to have a vote before Brexit. I usually do a postal vote. Not this time.
Now that my eldest daughter is nearly 5 years old, I plan to go to the polling station and physically exercise my right to vote, with her in tow. We’ve discussed voting before. This time, I intend to add more layers to their knowledge and awareness.
And next time we have our story time, I will tell the story of a small but mighty country who one day was imprisoned by a baddy for 50 years. People were not allowed to meet, to laugh, to have fun, to be free…
What parents of bilingual children can do to keep history alive
- Celebrate or discuss important national days – tell stories, make it fun and interactive with homemade masks and puppets. Kids love stories of kings, queens, knights, baddies and heros. Well, that’s exactly what history is made of
- Watch age appropriate TV programmes or selected Youtube videos for children about history. A few suggestions for Portuguese history:
Cancoes da Maria now also has a series of songs about events of the history of Portugal:
This video tells the story of the 25 April Carnations Revolution:
- Have history books or books about historical events at home. You can get Portuguese, English, Spanish and French language books from online bookshop Wook (this is an affiliate link) which delivers worldwide delivery
TimeOut in Portugal recommends these 3 children’s books for the 25 April. This is one of the history books for children from our own collection. A flap book for young children with the key moments of the history of Portugal explained in very simple terms. You can get this and other books from Wook (affiliate link)
- Listen to and sign Revolutionary songs. I loved singing this one, Grandola Vila Morena, on road trips when I was younger:
EDIT: This code will be reactivated between 25 and 30 April 2019
15% off Portuguese children’s books
To celebrate 25th of April we teamed up with Miúda Portuguese Books to offer 15% off their books. Just go to their site and use the code 25ABRIL until 27th April midnight. Miuda Books sells books in Portuguese from Portuguese and Brazilian authors, in the UK.
Share with us in the comments below or on the Facebook page: what special dates do you celebrate and how do you celebrate them?