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Bumba meu Boi described by Jean-Paul Delfino

Bumba Meu Boi Festival of Sao LuisIf you are lucky enough to be travelling in North East Brazil at the time of the Bumba meu Boi, prepare to live a unique experience, for those festivities are a culminating moment of the Maranhenses festival. Here, for a whole month, a popular fervor begins to seethe in every town and, apart from the Bumba meu Boi, nothing out there.

At the origin of the event are dozens of intertwined legends, so similar but at the same time so different. Dancing to a strictly codified choreography to the sound of zabumbas (big low-pitched drums giving the procession its basic pulsation), maracas, matracas or pandeiraos, the procession tells a tragic love story: A long time ago, a slave who is madly in love with his wife, is overjoyed when she gets pregnant. Alas, very quickly, she becomes whimsical and, as a supreme present, she requires from her husband that he kills his favourite ox and offers her its tongue to eat as a main course. The brutal strength of the ox as opposed to the slave’s frailty, the mad things that love makes you commit…The tone is set.

All at once satirical and dramatic, a comedy but also a tragedy, the Bumba meu Boi is a parade in the city where the characters are dressed up in bright-coloured costumes, revealing a typically tropical fervour, although it rather makes you think of the Venice carnival. Each costume is a masterpiece in itself, meticulously prepared during the whole year only to be revealed at last in the sunlight of the June festivities, the famous festas juninas. Recognized as one of Brazil’s world cultural heritage, the Bumba meu Boi remains a unique event to which the entire Maranhense population actively participates. Among the crashing sound of its instruments and the whirlwind of its multicoloured cloths, its laughter and its songs, the Bumba meu Boi is already waiting for you!

Written by: © Jean-Paul Delfino (This text is subject to copyrights protection in accordance with existing laws)

Other texts by Jean-Paul Delfino are available here: Travel Diaries - Jean-Paul Delfino

Jean-Paul Delfino is a French writer and screenwriter so passionate about Brazil that he has taken on the writing of a major novel fresco entitled "Suite brésilienne" which covers three centuries of great Brazilian history.

Wikipedia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Paul_Delfino