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Bumba-meu-boi

The show is performed with the audience standing in a circle. The ox, the main character, is made of a wooden frame covered in colorful and decorated cloth. One person stays inside the ox, jumping, dancing and advancing on the audience.

Bumba-meu-boi

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 06/06/2022

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation - Specialist in Scientific Documentation

Bumba-meu-boi is a popular show that is part of the Christmas cycle and is sometimes also performed during Carnival.

 

Its denomination varies according to Brazilian states. In the Amazon, it is boi-bumbá; in Ceará it is boi surubi or surubim; in Rio Grande do Norte it is boi calemba; in Santa Catarina it is boi de mamão; and in Paraíba it is cavalo marinho.

 

It is typical of the Nordeste do Brasil  (Northeast region of Brazil) due to its music and characters and its origin dates back to the end of the 17th century.

 

The show is performed with the audience standing in a circle. The ox, the main character, is made of a wooden frame covered in colorful and decorated cloth. One person stays inside the ox, jumping, dancing and advancing on the audience

 

The dance characters are humans and animals. The females are represented by men in cross-dressing. The Captain is the commander of the show. There are also Mateus and Catirina, well-known characters who introduce the animals, singing and dancing in a funny way, amusing the audience a lot. Catirina is a very uninhibited black woman who, in some bumbas, is Mateus' wife. The cast also includes: Bastião, the shepherdess, the owner of the ox, the priest, the doctor, the sacristan, Mané Gostoso, the Fanfarrão, the rhea, the donkey, the snake, the pinica-pau and the fictional characters: the Caipora, the Devil, the Babau, the dead carrying the living and Jaraguá.

 

The plot is what does not change at all bumbas-meu-boi. The shepherdess ox gets lost; she goes looking for him in the surroundings and finds the various characters. In the end, the ox is always killed and resurrected, and with his death the following lament is sung, which is well known to all:

 

My ox died
What will become of me?
Send me another
Little sister, from Piauí

 

 

Recife, July 1, 2003.

 

sources consulted

BRANDÃO, Théo. Folguedos natalinos de Alagoas. Maceió: Departamento Estadual de Cultura, 1961. p. 72.

BUMBA-MEU-BOI. In: BRASIL Turismo e Você, p. 24-25, 1974.

BUMBA-MEU-BOI. Jornal do Commercio, Recife, 21 jan. 2002. Caderno C, p. 1.

CÂMARA CASCUDO, Luís da. Dicionário do folclore brasileiro. Rio de Janeiro: Tecnoprint, 1954.  

TELES, José. Manoel Salustiano, o mestre dos brinquedos. Jornal do Commercio, Recife, 21 jan. 2002. Caderno C, p. 1.

how to quote this text

GASPAR, Lúcia. Bumba-meu-boi. In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2003. Available from: https://pesquisaescolar.fundaj.gov.br/pt-br/artigo/bumba-meu-boi/. Access on: Month. day, year. (Ex.: Aug. 6, 2020.)