The Festival of Parintins

The folkloric festival of Parintins is an annual popular event that happens every last weekend of June in the city of Parintins located inside of the Amazon tropical forest. Its history began in 1964, when the festival began without competition, even though the public (composed mainly by the citizens of Parintins) was already divided in two cheering groups of fans.

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The Festival of Parintins

When the three brothers Raimundo, Pedro and Félix Cid, founders of Parintins, arrived at the location and founded the city, they made a promise to St. John the Baptist requesting wealth for the new city. As part of the promise’s payment they pledged to repeat a tradition already existent in Maranhão, a state near Amazonia.  This tradition involves building a white/red ox, using parts of the palm. However influenced by the culture of the sailors from Parentins’ nearby cities, which were characterized by the colors white/blue, the brothers built two different oxes: white/blue and white/red. In addition, the promise’s payment included several parades through the streets animated by the sound of drums and challenge verses from one group of cheering fans against the other.

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“Caprichoso” (left) and “Garantido” (right) oxen

Because of this, the city of Parintins is divided in two main “families”, one that follows the “Garantido” (guaranteed in English) ox, which is symbolized by the red color, and the other that follow the “Caprichoso” (capricious in English) ox, which is represented by the blue color.

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Caprichoso’s performance

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Garantido’s performance

This festival is the greatest display of the Amazonian culture, and just loses to the Carnaval of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in question of magnitude inside of Brazil. The celebrations occur at the “Centro Cultural e Esportivo Amazonino Mendes (Amazonian Mendes Sportive and Cultural Center), which is a stadium in the format of a bull’s head supporting 35,000 people. There are three days of presentations with themes ranging from the history and rites worshiped by the natives to the habits of the indigenous people that live at the edges of the river.

The scenario also tells the history of a bull killed by the father Francisco to satisfy the desires of his pregnant wife, mother Catirina. Francisco’s boss discovers that his servant killed the most beautiful bull of his cattle and then ordered the arrest of father Francisco. At the same time, a priest and a pajé, an indigenous spiritual leader, are summoned to revive the animal. After the resurrection, Francisco and his wife are released, receive forgiveness and a huge and beautiful party begins.

Cunha Poranga (Caprichoso): www.youtube.com/watch?v=py_zxSmXU7Y

Xamã Kanamari (Garantido): www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpU60dMJB3Y

Every year, thousands of tourists go to Parintins to watch this unique festival that has as soundtrack a tune played by more than 400 musicians. The songs are played during the three days of festival for at least 3 hours per day and then, in the end, the winner ox is  announced.

The cultural power of this festival is so huge that the Coca Cola in Parintins, during the event, has two versions: the usual red (Garantido/Guaranteed) and blue (Caprichoso/Capricious).

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