Parintins, a community of 100,000 people, is located on Tupinambarana Island, part of the mid-Amazon’s largest archipelago, halfway between Santarem and Manaus. It is accessible only by air and boat. It is best known for its Boi Bumba festival held at the last week of June each year at the start of the dry season in a stadium called the Bumbadromo which seats 35,000 people. The Festival is second largest in Brazil after Rio’s Carnival. Boi Bumba means “bull dance.” The Parintins festival combines Brazil’s Portuguese, religious and indigenous heritage. The bull dance is a comic re-enactment of a legend based on a bull killed to satisfy the cravings of a pregnant woman for bull’s tongue, and then resurrected by a priest when the owner of the bull threatened to kill the woman’s husband. The competition is between two bull clubs or teams, Boi Caprichoso, whose flags are blue and white, and Boi Garantido, with banners of red and white. Each club has about 4,000 members and a band, comprised primarily of drummers. A panel of judges awards points for various categories and the winning club has the glory for the next year. Costumes and songs correspond to the annual theme. Participants are divided into three groups: witch doctors or shamans, Indian tribes and square dancers. Holland America Line rented a hall and arranged for us to see the presentation by the Boi Garantido club. It was very lively and the costumes were spectacular. I have a few pictures of the performance and some of the performers.
The town itself is rather pedestrian. There is a new Cathedral (photo) and an older church (photo). The Bumbodromo itself is under renovation. It was interesting however, to see how the ordinary Brazilians live (photos). Wednesday we are in Alter do Chao, some 25 miles up the Tapajos river from Santarem. It will be our last port in Brazil.