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May 16, 2008

Parintins - Amazonas


Parintins - Amazonas

Guaranteed or Capricious? Heart or star? Red or blue? That’s how it is in Parintins: you have to choose which side to take. The historical rivalry between the two bulls called Guaranteed and Capricious dominates the city, permeates people’s imagination and culminates in one of the most popular parties in Brazil: the Parintins Folklore Festival held every night on June 28, 29 and 30.


In the bumbódromo arena, the Bulls put on a grandiose spectacle of dance, music, drama and special effects – a true rural opera that drives its 40 thousand daily spectators into a frenzy. Located on the Island of Tupinambarana, along the right bank of the Amazon River, 420 km from Manaus and almost on the border with the State of Pará, Parintins, with its 80 thousand inhabitants is a pleasant and agreeable city in the interior of the the States of Amazon.

At the end of the 19th Century, the region received migrants from the northeast in search of the riches generated in the Amazon from rubber extraction. They brought with them one of their strongest cultural traditions, the northeast’s bumba-meu-boi. There it found another bull, a truly Amazon bull, and it became the boi-bumbá of Parintins. Until the 1960s, the Bulls were always staged in the houses and backyards of Parintins; every once in a while, they would meet in the streets, and the sometimes violent confrontation was inevitable.

The fun was organized, grew, evolved and became a true spectacle. The Bulls incorporated characters, rituals and legends that go back to the inhabitants of the Amazon forest, the Indians, the rural settlers, and the ecological and social issues that afflict them. Ever since 1988, they have been holding the spectacle at the bumbódromo, a stadium built just to receive the festival. The Bulls, with approximately 2.5 thousand participants, occupy the arena with 2:30 spectacles each. Guaranteed is the white bull with a red heart on its forehead. Capricious is black, and it bears a blue star on its forehead. Tribes of dancers accompany them and form a carpet of color in movement. The gigantic floats that move about and articulate, creating a scenario for the presentation of the most important figures: the elegant cunhã-poranga, the folklore queen, the standard-bearer, the young miss of the farm, and the powerful witch doctor. Everything is explained in detail by the narrators and moves to the contagious sound of the songs sung by the tune “leaders” and the beat of more than 250 drums. On separate sides of the stadium, the two tireless, super-motivated cheering groups, the galeras, also participate in the spectacle. When their Bull is performing in the arena, one half of the bumbódromo actually shakes, while the “enemy” fans remain in the most respectful silence.

Parintins is home to an unusual number of artists, artisans, musicians and poets to produce the festival. In no other city of the Amazon will you find such a concentration of talent. The warehouses and galleries, where the most complex and gigantic floats to the most delicate headdresses are made, hold the secrets of wizards who prepare their spells with ink, glue, Styrofoam, iron, artificial feathers, seeds, straw, sparkles and plastic.

Parintins Folklore Festival
From June 24-30, with the peak of the festival taking place on June 28, 29 and 30 with the presentations of the two bulls, Guaranteed and Capricious.

Uaiacurapá River
Beautiful fluvial beaches with white sands and dark water surge between the months of August and February, during the low water season. The do Pacoval, das Onças and das Guaribas islands are near the river.

Parintins Mountains
This 152 m high area is surrounded by thick vegetation and forms the border with the state of Pará. It is also called Valéria Mountain and it has a special attraction: the branch of the river that forms the beautiful Valéria Lake.

Macuricanä Lake
This beautiful lake can only be appreciated during the Amazon summer. It is part of a lacustrine complex that includes approximately 40 lakes.

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