Bumba Meu Boi


In past the spectacle of the Ox (bumba-meu-boi) was a popular comedy performed for the pleasure of the farmer from the arid northeast regions of Brazil. The tale says that mother Catirina is pregnant and has an unstoppable lust for ox tongue. The husband Francisco then kills the patron’s most beautiful Ox and boils its tongue to offer it to his wife. The man ends up in jail but at the end a priest is called blessing the Ox that resuscitates giving start to the celebrations.

At the beginning of the last century with the migration of rural workers, the tale moved from the arid northeast to the humid regions of the Amazon. The tale’s main characters remained the same but the cast of extras with local attributes became so many that the celebrations turned into a tropical forest musical.

The epicentre is the small town of Parintins on the island of Tupinambrarana by the Amazon River about 400 km downstream from Manaus or 4500km from Sao Paolo. It is at best an improbable place to hold Brazil’s second largest carnival like celebration.

Two teams challenge each other the blue team against the red team their weapons? Huge monsters, ghosts, imaginary animals, some Hollywood inspired others more out of a psychedelic nightmare. Inside the Bumbodromo (a huge stadium) for three nights in a row in front of 35.000 fans that are divided into two camps, each team presents three times a variation of bumba meu boi tale.

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