Famous Ox: "Bumbá folks", Public Officers, Journalists, Literati and Festive Sociability in Working Class Districts of Belém (1920’s and 1930’s)


This paper approaches the ties and conflicts between players, public officers, newsmen and literati directly or indirectly engaged with boi bumbá troupes in Belém do Pará in the 1920’s and 30’s. Positive and negative interactions provided visibility and social repercussion (by opposition or appreciation) to boi partakers in newspapers or in written memories by authors identified with cultural exhibitions, of what they called the suburban dwellers of Belém. The boi groups became, in the face of the public appraisal, a legitimate practice of festive sociability of the working-class residents of poor neighborhoods of Belém, in spite the condemning view by elite members and the police repression. Black culture heritage was connected to these troupes’ performances by evoking Amazonian themes and social figures (caboclos, Native Brazilians, cowmen), which, themselves, turned into a feature of the entertainment business in working-class districts. This research examines the controversial surroundings concerning the internal and external relations of "boi folks", focusing on the attempts of public security officers in order to forbid the presence of these groups in the streets, as well as on the understanding of intellectuals that bumbás took part in the cultural regional tradition.

Boi Bumbá; Belém; intellectuals

Pós-Graduação em História, Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Av. Antônio Carlos, 6627 , Pampulha, Cidade Universitária, Caixa Postal 253 - CEP 31270-901, Tel./Fax: (55 31) 3409-5045, Belo Horizonte - MG, Brasil - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil
E-mail: variahis@gmail.com