chapter  6
11 Pages

Diversions and Assertive Behavior

In the days of slavery, forced labor was broken only by Sunday as a day of rest-and this not always observed-and by the days given to obser­ vances of religious origin, especially Carnival (from the medieval Latin Carne-vale, or “flesh to be shed”) in the days preceding Lent. By the late nineteenth century, this pattern had been expanded to the larger population and broadened to include not only Catholic festivals but also civic com­ memorations. During the twentieth century, the arrival of soccer as the national sport added still another set of days during which the playing of critically important matches galvanized national interest among almost all social groups. For World Cup play every four years, in fact, virtually all work ceases during important matches, followed by wild street celebrations and frenzied euphoria when the team wins. These events, Robert DaMatta observes, are played out in zones of encounter and mediation, when ratio­ nal, normal time is suspended and a new routine must be innovated and repeated.