Imagem card

Immaterial Heritage of Pernambuco

Cultural heritage is fundamental for a people’s memory and identity.

Immaterial Heritage of Pernambuco

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 24/03/2020

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Cultural heritage is fundamental for a people’s memory and identity.

In Brazil, the 1988 Constitution defines cultural heritage as the goods of material and immaterial nature, individually or as a set, which refer to the identity, the action and memory of the different groups.

It sets out, also, that its preservation is not the mission solely by the Union (União), by the States and Municipalities, but also by the communities and for every citizen.

According to UNESCO, immaterial heritage are the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and techniques – alongside the instruments, objects, cultural artifacts and places which are associated – and it states that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals acknowledge them as an integrating part of their cultural heritage.

It pertains, therefore, to our cultural heritage which is transmitted from generation to generation, but which cannot be touched upon. For this reason, it is called an intangible heritage, as well. In order for this to be understood, however, it is needed that one has an immaterial representation of it. For instance: the Carnival, frevo (dance performed with an open umbrella), the June/July festivities, cordel (string-fashioned booklets or pamphlets – “string literature”), maracatus, ciranda (popular dance and music - dance in circles), and xylographs.

In Brazil, the advocacy to this heritage, when deemed as a national interest, is an attribution for União (the Union), by means of the Institute of the National Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN). In Pernambuco, the governmental body in charge of the states’ cultural heritage records is the Foundation of Historical and Artistic Heritage of Pernambuco (Fundarpe).

Decree number 3.551, as of August, 04th, 2000 sets forth the Registry of Cultural Goods of Immaterial Nature in Brazilian cultural heritage, which may be divided into the following categories:

Registry of knowledge – know-how and ways of life deeply-rooted in communities’ routines;

Registry of Celebrations – rituals and festivities which strongly characterize collective labor life, religiousness, entertainment and other social life practices;

Registry of the Forms of Expressions – literary, musical, plastic, scenic manifestations and manifestations of gaiety, as well;

Registry of the places – markets, street markets, sanctuaries, squares and other spots where collective cultural practices are found and reproduced.

The proposals for the registry of immaterial goods, followed by technical documentation must be sent out to the chairman of IPHAN.

The Caruaru street market (2006) and frevo (“dance performed with an open umbrella” - 2007) are already registered as immaterial heritage of Pernambuco, by IPHAN. Still under process of registration are caboclinho (diminutive of civilized Brazilian Indian of pure blood), cavalo-marinho (sea-horse), maracatu nação (nation maracatu) and maracatu rural (countryside maracatu).

Some states have chosen the registration of cultural goods by way of the legislative power, as well as Pernambuco, which, through Law No. 7.970, as of September, 18th, 1979, signed then, by governor Marco Maciel, has provided Fundarpe with the responsibility for technical studies, and, the Cultural State Council, with the mission of issuing expert opinions and appraising the proposals.

The following immaterial goods of Pernambuco have already been registered, under the State Legislative Assembly proposition:

• Agremiação Carnavalesca Bloco da Saudade, Recife (2009)
• Alto do Moura, Caruaru (2009)
• Bloco Carnavalesco Galo da Madrugada (2009)
• Bolo Souza Leão (2008)
• Cachaça (2008)
• Carnaval de Olinda (2009)
• Cartola (alimento) (2009)
• Conjunto Arquitetônico e Espetáculo da Paixão de Cristo de Nova Jerusalém, Brejo da Madre de Deus (2009)
• Dança do Brinquedo Popular Ciranda (2009)
• Dança do Xaxado (2009)
• Festa da Pitomba, Prazeres, Jaboatão dos Guararapes (2009)
• Festa do Vaqueiro e Missa do Vaqueiro, Serrita (2009)
• Papangus de Bezerros (2009)
• São João de Caruaru (2009)
• Manguebeat, Olinda/Recife (2009)
• Bolo-de-rolo (2008)

The following immaterial goods are under analysis by the Assembly:

• Agremiação Carnavalesca Bloco das Flores, Recife
• Bloco Carnavalesco A Mulher da Sombrinha, Catende
• Carnaval de Vitória de Santo Antão
• Festa da Batalha do Reduto, Rio Formoso
• Festa das Dálias, Taquaritinga do Norte
• Festa das Marocas, Belo Jardim
• Sítio Histórico do Monte das Tabocas, Vitória de Santo Antão.

The Brotherhood of Our Lady of Black Men of Rosary (2005), tapioca (a usually granular preparation of cassava - 2006) and the Xambá Nation Urban Quilombo (2007) are, additionally, immaterial goods registered by the Preservation Council of the Historical Sites of Olinda.

Besides the immaterial goods heritage, Pernambuco was the first Brazilian state to set forth, at the level of the Public Stewardship, the Registry of Live Heritage, (Law No. 12.196, of May, 02nd, 2002) which acknowledges and awards a life-long pension/grant made available monthly, to popular and traditional culture representatives in the State.

Recife, 28 August 2010.

sources consulted

COUCEIRO, Sylvia; BARBOSA, Cibele. Patrimônio imaterial: debates contemporâneos. Cadernos de Estudos Sociais, Recife, v.24, n. 2, p. 151-159, jul./dez. 2008.

MACEDO, Helder Alexandre Medeiros de. O que é patrimônio imaterial? Natal, 2006. Available at:<>. Accessed: 26 maio 2010.

PATRIMÔNIO imaterial. Available at:<> Accessed: 27 maio 2010

[PATRIMÔNIO imaterial]. Available at: <>. Acesso em: 27 maio 2010.

PRESERVAÇÃO do Patrimônio Cultural de Pernambuco. Available at <>. Accessed: 27 maio 2010.

how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Patrimônio imaterial de Pernambuco. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at: <>. Accessed: day  month year. Exemple: 6 August 2009.