Hello. My name is Carmen, and I live in Brazil. No, I‘m not the famous Carmen Miranda, although I dress like her
sometimes. I‘ll tell you the
story about Carmen Miranda. Then you will know why I have a fancy dress and
fruit on my head!
Carmen Miranda was a famous singer from Brazil. She was born
in Portugal in 1909, but her family moved to Brazil when she was two years old.
It was very common for people to move from Portugal to
Brazil because the two countries have the same language and customs. Portugal is
a country in Europe—it‘s right next to Spain. Five hundred years ago, the
kings and queens in Spain and Portugal sent explorers (like Christopher
Columbus) to find new lands. Explorers from Portugal sailed to South America and
found Brazil. Since then, many people from Portugal have moved to Brazil. Even
today, everyone in Brazil speaks Portuguese.
Carmen and her family lived in a large city in Brazil.
Carmen liked to sing, and after she finished school, she became famous. She sang
songs related to music (called samba) that was brought to Brazil by African
slaves. When Carmen sang, she often wore long skirts and had fruit on her head.
Carmen wore fruit on her head because ladies in Bahia (a
part of Brazil) put fruit baskets on their heads when they went to the market.
Many different fruits grow in Brazil, including kiwi, acai, bananas, and passion
fruit. The ladies in the poor sections of town took the fruit to the markets to
sell it. They also sang and danced with fruit on their heads.
After Carmen became famous in Brazil, she went to the
United States. She was very popular and appeared in many movies and shows. The
fruit on her head became a symbol for Carmen and a symbol for Brazil. You may
have heard one of Carmen‘s hits—Chiquita Banana:
I‘m Chiquita Banana and I‘ve come to say,
Bananas have to ripen in a
Bananas like the climate of the very tropical equator,
should never put bananas in the refrigerator.
Now, when people see fruit worn on the head, they think of
Carmen Miranda and of Brazil. Although she died very young (at 46 years old),
she will always be known as the “Lady in the tutti-frutti hat.”
Map of Brazil. Brasilia is the capital.