Bois-Bumbás from Parintins, Amazonas: Caprichoso and Garantido
Last update: 11/10/2013
Towards the end of the 16th Century, a Portuguese man called José Pedro Cordovil, arrived at an island located in the Brazilian Amazonia, which was inhabited by the Tupinambá Indians and by the Sapupê, Peruviana, Mundurucu, Maués and Parintins tribes. Until this place became known as Parintins, it had several names: Tupinambarana (1796), Vila Nova da Rainha (1803), Freguesia de Nossa Senhora do Carmo de Tupinambarana (1833), Vila Bela da Imperatriz (1848), Parintins (1853). The county is located in the Lower Amazon, on the right-hand side of the Amazon River bank and is 420 km away from Manaus. Currently it has approximately one hundred thousand inhabitants.
Parintins is considered the second largest city of the state of Amazonas and one of the most important tourist destinations in the region, due mainly to one of the biggest popular festivals held in Brazil: the Parintins Folk Festival.
The Festival was officially recognized in 1966 and it hosts the bois-bumbás (bumbá oxen), Caprichoso and Garantido competition, in existence since 1913.
According to scholars, the Parintins boi-bumbás originated in Brazil’s Northeastern region - Nordeste do Brasil. The Amazon region received many Northeastern immigrants. They brought along their cultural expressions which were incorporated and adapted by the Northern region inhabitants, including legends, rituals, music and Indian dances, aside from mythological figures such as shamans and sorcerers.
There are several stories about the origin of the ox Garantido – considered the “people’s ox” – and Caprichoso – the “elites’s ox”. Among many tales, Garantido says that its founder, Lindolfo Monteverde, as a child used to listen to his Maranhense grandmother about the legend of an ox made out of cloth that danced during St. John’s night. When he was 11, he crafted an ox and baptized it with the name Garantido. He gathered some friends to play with the ox on his own back yard for several years. When he turned 18, Lindolfo had serious health problems and made a promise to St. John the Baptist: if his health was restored, he would make sure the ox would dance and play throughout his life. This is how the boi-bumbá Garantido was born, on June 13th, 1913.
Caprichoso was also the outcome of a promise that the Cid brothers – João Roque, Félix and Raimundo Cid –, born in the state of Ceará, made to St. John the Baptist when they arrived to the Amazon region: if they succeeded in their quest for jobs and marriages they would revere the saint with an ox made out of cloth. After the graces were reached, boi-bumbá Caprichoso emerged, on October 20th, 1913. The Cid brothers followed Parintins lawyer José Furtado Belem’s suggestion for the name, since he knew of another boi-bumbá which danced in Manaus’ Praça 14 neighborhood also named Caprichoso.
The plot of the presentation of the Oxen Caprichoso and Garantido does not differ much from other boi-bumbá presentations that happen throughout Brazil. It tells the story of Negro Francisco, a farm worker who, in order to fulfill his pregnant wife’s desire to eat the tongue of the prettiest ox in the place, steals the farm’s prize animal and kills it. The owner of the farm finds out and orders the Indians to hunt the man down, while in the meantime, gripped with fear, he sets out to find a shaman who will bring the ox back to life. He is able to achieve this prodigious feat, and the owner forgives him, after which there is a big party.
Initially, in the 1960s, the boi-bumbás were performed in squares and courts, thus creating the Parintins Festival. Afterwards, the party and parade location was a specially designed court called the “bumbódromo”, built in wood (1985) with stands, cabins and a cement arena where the groups performed legends and rituals from the Amazon. The final version, which is permanent, was opened in 1988 and has capacity for 35 thousand spectators.
In Parintins, the festival lasts for three days and three nights in which supporters of both boi-bumbás divide the town into two colors: red and blue. Blue represents Caprichoso and red, Garantido. It is a blend of theatrical performance, dance and music and the presentation of each boi (ox) must contain 22 mandatory items related to the legend, with the presence of the sailors (a type of percussion group) and characters such as Sinhazinha, Cunha Poranga (represents the tribe’s most beautiful girl) and the Pajé (Shaman), among others. (CATTANI, 2011, pg. 36). During the three show days the stands are divided into two strictly equal parts and each one of the sides is painted the color of the respective boi (ox).
The music that accompanies the Garantido and Caprichoso presentations is the toada (Northeastern country ballad), played along with a group of more than 400 percussionists.
The supporting groups are a separate chapter within this popular festival. Each one of them includes around 4,000 members, known as players, who follow defined rules so as to make sure that the festival will evolve in the brightest possible way: they can not, under any circunstance, use the rival group’s color, nor mention the other boi-bumbá’s name, they can only refer to it as “the opponent” ; they must never scream or boo the opponent in derogatory ways; and, during the presentation of the rival group, they must remain in complete silence.
The entire festival is carefully planned by the production, including giant statues associated with special choreographies rehearsed throughout the year, adding spectacular brilliance to the boi-bumbá’s dispute.
In order to win the competition a jury assesses each ox by means of diverse criteria, such as presentation, rituals, songs, allegories, choreographies, and supporting groups. The main items presented by the boi-bumbás are: ballad lifters, farm sinhazinha (girl), presenter, owner of the ox, queen of folklore, flag bearer, cunha-poranga, shaman, tripa.
In the period 1966 - 2011, 46 Festivals were carried out, Garantido Boi (Ox) won 27 times, and there were 18 victories for Caprichoso, and only once there was a tie.
Recife, 10 December 2011.
BOI Garantido e Caprichoso. Available at: <http://www.boigarantidoecaprichoso.blogspot.com/>. Accessed: 30 ago. 2011.
CATTANI, Luciana; BOIERAS, Gabriel. Espetáculo na floresta. Revista Voe, São Paulo, ano 3, n. 36, p. 34-38, jun. 2011. Photos in this text.
FESTIVAL de Parintins, AM. Available at: <http://www.terra.com.br/diversao/parintins/historia.htm>. Accessed: 30 ago. 2011.
PARINTINS. História. Available <http://pt.wikipidia.org/wiki/Parintins>. Accessed: 30 August. 2011.
how to quote this text
Source : BARBOSA, Virgínia. Bois-Bumbás de Parintins, Amazonas: Caprichoso e Garantido. Pesquisa Escolar Online,Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 August. 2009.