Bumba meu Boi classified intangible heritage of humanity

The Bumba Meu Boi of Maranhão Cultural Complex, in Brazil, was proclaimed today as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The final decision on ratification of the classification, which had already been endorsed by the committee of experts in November, was taken today at the 14th annual meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which has been taking place since Monday. in Bogota, Colombia.

Bumba meu Boi do Maranhão was born from the historical diversity of Brazil, from the mix of Portuguese culture present in the devotion festivals to São João, São Pedro and São Marçal, and religious elements present in African and indigenous cultures.

Bumba meu Boi do Maranhão is a ritual event that occurs three times a year to mark birth, life, and death. Besides dance and music, there is theater (autos), handicrafts and other elements involved in the preparation and during the celebrations.

Among the best-known representations of Bumba meu Boi do Maranhão is a (theatrical) act about a Portuguese farmer who had a farm and a black bull.

A black couple worked on the farm, and the pregnant wife told her husband that she wanted to eat the tongue of the boss’s favorite bull, convincing him to kill the animal.

The worker attended to his wife, but when the Portuguese farmer sought his pet ox he repented and sought a ‘pajé’ (indigenous healer) to make the ox resurrect. The whole story ends with a big party.

Bumba Meu Boi Cultural Complex has today become the sixth asset of Brazilian cultural heritage to win the UNESCO title.

The previous ones were Kusiwa Art – Body Painting and Graphic Art Wajãpi (2003), Samba de Roda in the Recôncavo Baiano (2005), Frevo: an artistic expression of the Carnival of Recife (2012), Círio of Nossa Senhora de Nazaré (2013) ) and the Roda de Capoeira (2014).

In addition to Bumba meu Boi do Maranhão, the committee also examines the ratification of 41 other applications for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

First meeting in Latin America, this Intergovernmental Committee is currently composed of representatives from Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, China, Cyprus, Colombia, Cuba, Djibouti, Philippines, Guatemala, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritius, The Netherlands, Palestine, Poland, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Togo and Zambia, the decisions being taken unanimously by these members.

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