April Fool’s day in Brazil is known as o dia das mentiras, literally, the day of lies or dia dos bobos, day of fools. It is a day for brincadeiras, pranks. Brincadeira comes from the verb brincar, to play, so the nature of these pranks is playful and spirited.
April 1 became popular in Brazil after a satirical publication called A Mentira, dedicated to stories about the “ephemeral life”, wrote its first spoof news headline on April 1st, 1828, announcing the death of Don Pedro, Emperor of Brazil.The periodical lasted for quite a few years, but eventually it ran into financial difficulties. Fittingly, on its last number dated September 14th, 1894, A Mentira communicated to all its creditors where they could go to get the money they were owed. The only problem was that this too was a prank and the place at the published address did not exist.
Brazilians take pranks and white lies in stride and believe that these are necessary remedies for the ills of modern world. How else could one be excused for being over an hour late for or maybe not even showing up for a previously planned engagement because a rainstorm turned a simple commute into a four-hour traffic nightmare?
So it’s good to know how Brazilians sometimes use words or phrases to modify a sentence so it won’t sound like too solid a commitment.
Look at the example sentences below with their translations and an approximate percentage of the likelihood the promise will be kept.
Eu vou buscá-lo no aeroporto amanhã às 6:00. (I’m going to pick you up at the airport at 6:00 tomorrow.) – 100%
Eu estou querendo ir buscá-lo no aeroporto amanhã. (Literally: I’m wanting to pick you up at the airport tomorrow.) – 80%
Eu acho que vai dar para buscá-lo no aeroporto amanhã. (I think I will be able to pick you up at the airport tomorrow.) – 60%
Eu acho que vai dar para buscá-lo no aeroporto amanhã (I think I’ll be able to pick you up at the airport tomorrow.) – 50%
Eu falei que iria buscá-lo no aeroporto amanhã? (Did I say I was going to pick you up at the airport tomorrow?) – 40%
Talvez dê para buscá-lo no aeroporto amanhã. (Maybe I’ll manage to pick you up at the airport tomorrow.) – 30%
Quando é mesmo que eu tenho que buscá-lo no aeroporto? (When was it I had to pick you up a t the airport?) – 10%
Se der eu apareço para buscá-lo no aeroporto amanhã. (Literally: If possible, I’ll show up to pick you up at the airport) – Take a taxi home!
Brush up on your Portuguese to be sure you get that ride from the airport in Rio!