Bumba Meu Boi from Brazil is now an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

The exceptionality of this cultural manifestation covers different Brazilian matrices and was unanimously recognized by the UNESCO Committee

The Bumba Meu Boi Cultural Complex from Brazil was recognized today (11) as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The title was awarded by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, which is gathered this week in Bogota, Colombia. The Complex is the sixth Brazilian element on the list, along with Kusiwa Art, Samba de Roda, Frevo, Círio de Nossa Senhora de Nazaré and Roda de Capoeira.

The cultural complex of Bumba-meu-boi is a ritualistic practice involving forms of musical, choreographic, performing and playful expression. The practice is heavily charged with symbolism. It reproduces the cycle of life, offering a metaphor for human existence itself. Each year, the groups concerned reinvent this celebration, recreating songs, comedies, costumes, and embroideries for the occasion. Culminating at the end of June, the festival cycle involves numerous manifestations, including public performances, and rituals around the death of an ox. It is a period of renovation during which energies are reinvigorated.

As part of the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, actions for the preservation and strengthening of for this cultural expression will be taken. The Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) of Brazil with partnership of the communities involved in the practice of Bumba Meu Boi will seek to strengthen groups autonomy, promote more heritage education actions, perform new documentation, and expand researches in order to further enhancing the appreciation of this important cultural asset.