Category: Boi Bumba Festival

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Boi Bumba Festival

The annual festival of the bulls is the 2nd largest in Brazil – only the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro counts more participants. For the last week of June the small town of Parintins swells up to its double, streets are bustling with locals, Brazilians and international visitors. Everyone comes to see the three-day-long competition and hopes for a seat in the large Bumbódromo. This open air stadium was built especially for this purpose and holds up to 35.000 people.The division of the town dates back more than a hundred years, but the festival has only been organized for about 35 years. In order to make the rivalry safer the competition was moved to the stadium and pinned down at a certain time of the year. The story reads like a folk opera. Boi-Bumba recounts the tale of a black ranch hand named Francisco whose pregnant wife, Catirina, pleads for a “special meal” of succulent bull’s tongue. Francisco obliges by slaughtering the ranch owner’s favorite bull. But his action turns him into a fugitive. In the trackless jungle, he meets a native shaman and his luck changes. Together they conjure up the Amazon spirits, who bring the favored bull back to life. Now, it’s the ranch owner’s turn to slaughter a bull as he welcomes back the prodigal ranch hand. The Boi-Bumba legend offers broad scope for depicting Amazonian animals and colorful folkloric characters. Costumes, especially the headdress representing the bull, have become more elaborate with each retelling. The story is acted out through intricate dance routines to the beat of the toada, an hypnotic rhythm based on Amazon Indian music. Each presentation can last up to three hours.