Pai was a poor man who would do anything for his wife, Mae, who had recently fallen pregnant. One day she began to crave things that Pai could simply not provide. Mae craved the tongue of an Ox and so Pai headed out and stole, killed, and butchered a prize bull belonging to a wealthy farmer. When the farmer discovered what Pai had done he demanded justice for the crime and called for a doctor to try and save his bull. A priest arrived with the doctor and together they revived the bull and they all lived happily ever after and with that the Amazonzian folklore tale of Boi Bumba (beat the bull) was born.
Over the years there has been much telling and retelling of the tale, and now many variations of the story exist throughout Brazil. However, no telling of the story comes close to the elaborate ones of the Carpichosos and the Garantidos at the annual Boi Bumba festival.
The experience begins with simply getting to the festival. Parintins is only accessible by river boat and is 30+ hours away from the nearest town. The party begins whilst sailing through the spectacular Amazon river surrounded by the thousands of other like-minded festival goers.
The journey is worth it once you arrive at Boi Bumba. The two troupes have history dating back over 100 years, with loyal families and bloodlines supporting and performing for their troupe every festival. Each night they step into the Bumbodromo and attempt to win votes from the judges by out performing their fierce rivals. Their performances combine music, dancing, and story telling accompanied by bright lights, pyrotechnics, animatronics, and even live animals on stage.
But Boi Bumba is not just a stage show, it’s a Latin festival and with that comes the same flamboyance and vitality that you imagine when picturing better known Brazilian festivals like ‘Carnival’. After the shows end, the performers return to the streets where you can join them in street dancing, drinking, and partying all night long. Over 300 miles from the nearest city you can’t escape the feathered costumes, drum lines, and traditional food and drink leaving you with no choice but to embrace the culture and spirit of the Amazonian people and rainforest.
‘Love, theft, death, and revival. Marvel at the spectacle of six flamboyant stagings of the traditional Amazonian tale.’
Boi Bumba takes places in Parintins a small city in the Amazon rainforest. Although the performances take place in the Bumbodromo, the whole city transforms for the weekend so there’s things happening all over town on the streets and in the many bars and restaurants.
Hop on a boat and travel along the river for 30 hours until you arrive at Parintins. There are extra services put on in the run up to Boi Bumba so it’s not too difficult to find a seat/net/hammock for your journey.
There is very little in the way of accommodation in Parintins; the few Pousadas (guesthouse type accommodation) that do exist sell out months, if not years in advance. Being over 300 miles away from the nearest town many travellers opt to simply sleep in a hammock on their boat.
Make sure you watch each of the 6 stagings. The performances vary slightly each night and there’s so much happening on stage you’ll spot something new going on each time you watch. Once you’ve seen each side perform pick a side and stay loyal to them, the locals are superstitious and believe it’s bad luck to change loyalty. And make sure you head into the streets and simply enjoy the atmosphere. Boi Bumba is unique in that you can’t escape the party. No matter where you turn people will be partying.
Boi Bumba occurs in honour of St. John’s Day Feast. This year the festival will be running from June 28th – June 30th 2019.
Rad Season is providing you with hotels and Airbnbs at the lowest prices available online. Book your stay for Boi Bumba Festival 2019 using the map below!
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