The Parintins Folk Festival, which takes place in June in Amazonas State...

The Parintins Folk Festival, which takes place in June in Amazonas State, brings together nearly 100,000 people every year. It is a major regional celebration in Brazil. The event, which has the typical Boi-bumbá character, started to be celebrated officially in 1965. It takes this name because it is based on Parintins Island, by the Amazon river.

The major theme of the Parintins Festival is rivalry between two groups, represented by the famous oxes that play the Catirina legend, involving a humble, pregnant woman who had a desperate craving to eat an ox tongue. In order to satisfy her craving, her husband sacrificed his boss’ favorite ox and, as a consequence, he was threatened with death for doing this. However, a religious indigenous leader resurrected the animal, which led this story to a happy ending.

The oxen that cheer the party and split the audience are the Garantido (Granted) and the Caprichoso (Careful). The first one is represented by the color red and is more popular, with a traditional rhythm and typical songs. The Caprichoso is represented by the color blue and is considered to be quite fancy. The songs that are executed at the Bumbódromo (a kind of stadium, which looks like an ox’s head) are fast-paced and modern.

The audience supporting each ox are divided between the two halves of the stadium. They play an active role in the parades. When each ox is in action, the respective fans follow the choreography and animate the presentation. The opposite team must remain silent – if they boo the other group, penalties are awarded. The winner is elected by a team of 9 judges who evaluate topics, such as drum rhythm, evolution of the Boi-bumbá and choreography.