Article available in: PT-BR
Last update: 23/03/2020
A traditional performance that combines theatre, music, dance and literature, with lessons of humanity and respect for nature, the Pássaros Juninos (June Birds) are one of the most creative expressions of popular culture in Pará. The performances, which take place during the June festivities, are divided into two parts – Cordão de Passaro (Bird Rope) and Junino Passaro (June Bird) or Pássaro Melodrama Fantasia (Bird Melodrama Fantasy) – and have different characteristics in the way they are produced.
Cordão de Pássaro, which is mostly performed in the interior of Pará, is presented in open spaces in a semicircular shape with the scene’s members present all the time. Pássaro Melodrama Fantasia, characteristic of the capital, is also called “Ópera Cabocla” (Peasant Opera) as it makes use of the stage, curtain, aisles and lighting. According to Maués (2009, p.1) “in Belém, the ‘June birds’ took on influences of grand spectacles – operas, operettas, burlesques and reviews – staged at the Teatro da Paz during the opulent rubber period, known as the Belle Époque, which brought about the construction of the great concert hall.”
The spectacle’s narrative revolves around the hunt, death and resurrection of a bird – the central character. To this basic structure are added other characters, like farmers, hillbillies, Indians and noblemen. In the case of the Pássaro Fantasia, the stories are melodramatic and reflect the struggle of good against evil, from the hillbilly, who is responsible for the comedy, to the staging. According to Maués (2010, p.41), the Pássaro Junino talks “about and to the common man” through “its way of seeing and understanding the world – sometimes contradictory, but perhaps because of it, richly poetic.”
Groups are baptized with names of birds: Tucano (Toucan), Rouxinol (Nightingale), Tangará (Tanager), Uirapuru (Manakin), Beija-Flor (Hummingbird), Tem-Tem (Honeycreeper). Each bird has a guardian, who is the show co-ordinator and responsible for the group. Currently, there are several groups in the state of Pará; however, performances have been declining since the 1990s, especially in the case of Pássaros Juninos, due to the closing of São Cristóvão Theatre.
This popular operetta, which dates from the last quarter of the nineteenth century, is an identity reference for the people of Pará. There is no record of this manifestation beyond the state’s borders. Unlike other June Court manifestations, brought from the Iberian Peninsula, the Pássaro Junino, according to Paes Loureiro, who defines it as traditional theatre with music, is a Brazilian creation and as such should be valued (BICO, 2013). It was recently established as a Cultural Heritage of Intangible Nature of Pará State, by State Law No. 7,352/2009.
Recife, 19 May 2014.
Translated by Peter Leamy, March 2015.
BICO, Ingrid. Cortejos de 'Pássaros Juninos' são tradição de São João no Pará. In: Portal G1 – Pará. 15 jun. 2013. Available at:
<http://g1.globo.com/pa/para/sao-joao/2013/noticia/2013/06/cortejos-de-passaros-juninos-sao-tradicao-de-sao-joao-no-para.html>. Accessed: 10 maio 2014.
MAUÉS, Marton. Pássaros juninos do Pará: a matutagem e suas relações com o cômico popular medieval e renascentista. Repertório: Teatro & Dança, Salvador, ano 13, n. 14, p. 37-41, 2010. Available at <https://repositorio.ufba.br/ri/bitstream/ri/2034/1/4662-11938-1-PB.pdf>. Accessed: 18 maio 2014.
______. Breve vôo sobre o universo imagético do pássaro junino paraense. Revista Ensaio Geral, Belém, v. 1, n. 1, jan-jun. 2009. Available at:
<http://www.revistaeletronica.ufpa.br/index.php/ensaio_geral/article/viewFile/99/29>. Accessed: 20 maio 2014
how to quote this text
Source: MORIM, Júlia. June Birds. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <https://pesquisaescolar.fundaj.gov.br/en/>. Accessed: day month year. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.