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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S

Monday, June 19, 2017

THE EPSOM DERBY FROM ENGLAND!






   The Derby Stakes, known as The Investec Derby or The Derby and internationally as the Epsom Derby, is a Group 1 flat horse race in Great Britain which is open to three-year-old Thoroughbred colts and fillies. It is run at Epsom Downs over a distance of 1 mile, 4 furlongs and 10 yards (2,423 metres), and it is scheduled to take place each year in early June. It is Britain's richest horse race, and the most prestigious of the country's five Classics. It is sometimes referred to as the Blue Riband of the turf.
   The Epsom Derby is one of the most prestigious and iconic events of the sporting and social calendars. The Ladies day is known for being a highly fashionable event, where ladies compete to win the coveted Style on the Downs competition. Elaborate headwear and colourful dresses are the norm.










History
 
   The Derby originated at a celebration following the first running of the Oaks Stakes in 1779. A new race was planned, and it was decided that it should be named after either the host of the party, the 12th Earl of Derby, or one of his guests, Sir Charles Bunbury. According to legend the decision was made by the toss of a coin, but it is probable that Bunbury, the Steward of the Jockey Club, deferred to his host. The inaugural running of the Derby was held on 4 May 1780. It was won by Diomed, a colt owned by Sir Charles Bunbury, who collected prize money of £1,065 15s. The first four runnings were contested over 1 mile, but this was amended to the current distance of 1½ miles in 1784. Lord Derby achieved his first success in the event in 1787, with a horse called Sir Peter Teazle.











   The starting point of the race was moved twice during the 19th century. The first move, suggested by Lord George Bentinck, was in 1848, and the second was in 1872. It was discovered in 1991 that the exact length of the race was 1 mile, 4 furlongs and 10 yards.
   The Derby has inspired many similar events around the world. National variations include the Prix du Jockey Club, the Irish Derby, the Deutsches Derby, the Derby Italiano and in Australia, the AJC Australian Derby, Queensland Derby, South Australian Derby, the VRC Victoria Derby and WATC Derby. The New Zealand Derby contested at Ellerslie Racecourse, Auckland is the richest Derby in the Southern Hemisphere. Several races in the United States bear the "Derby" name, the most famous of which is the Kentucky Derby










Records
 
  • Fastest winning time (at Epsom) – 2m 31.33s, Workforce (2010)
  • Widest winning margin – 10 lengths, Shergar (1981)
  • Longest odds winners – Jeddah (1898), Signorinetta (1908), Aboyeur (1913), 100/1
  • Shortest odds winner – Ladas (1894), 2/9



Epsom Derby, 1927




  • Most runners – 34 (1862)
  • Fewest runners – 4 (1794
Timeline


  • 1838 Derby winner1805 – One of the horses was brought down by a spectator.
  • 1825 – Middleton didn't start before or after winning the Derby.
  • 1838 – Amato never raced before or after winning the Derby.
  • 1844 – The original winner Running Rein was disqualified as he was actually an ineligible four-year-old horse named Maccabeus.
  • 1881 – Iroquois became the first American-bred to win a leg of the British triple crown.









  • 1884 – The race finished with a dead-heat between Harvester and St. Gatien.
  • 1887 – Merry Hampton is the most recent horse to win the Derby with no previous victories.
  • 1894 – The winner was owned by the Prime Minister at the time, the 5th Earl of Rosebery.
  • 1901 – The first year in which a mechanical starting gate was used.
  • 1909 – Minoru was the first Derby winner owned by a reigning monarch, King Edward VII, who had previously won twice as Prince of Wales.
  • 1913 – The 6/4 favourite Craganour, owned by Charles B. Ismay, brother of J. Bruce Ismay of the Titanic, was controversially disqualified, and the race was awarded to the 100/1 outsider Aboyeur. Suffragette Emily Davison is struck by King George V's horse, Anmer, she dies three days later.
  • 1916 – Fifinella, who also won the Oaks, is the most recent of six fillies to win the race. The previous five were Eleanor (1801), Blink Bonny (1857), Shotover (1882), Signorinetta (1908), Tagalie (1912).




Persimmon, Derby winner in 1896




  • 1921 – The winner Humorist died two weeks after the race.
  • 1927 – The first Derby to be broadcast by the BBC.
  • 1932 – April the Fifth is the most recent winner trained at Epsom.
  • 1946 – Airborne is the most recent of 4 grey horses to win the Derby.
  • 1953 – Pinza was the first winner in the race for the jockey Sir Gordon Richards, after 27 unsuccessful attempts. 
  • 1960 - Although there had been an experimental TV transmission of the race in the early 1930s, regular television coverage of the Derby began this year, initially on both BBC and ITV.
  • 1989 – The runner-up Terimon is the longest-priced horse to finish placed in the Derby, at odds of 500/1.
  • 1996 – Alex Greaves became the first (and so far only) lady jockey to ride in the race. She finished last on the filly Portuguese Lil.










  • 1998 – The most recent filly to take part, the 1,000 Guineas winner Cape Verdi, started as 11/4 favourite but could only finish 9th.
  • 2006 – Martin Dwyer's winning ride on Sir Percy subsequently won the Lester Award for "Flat Ride of the Year".
  • 2007 – Authorized provided jockey Frankie Dettori with his first winner in the Derby after 14 previous attempts.
  • 2008 – Jim Bolger, the trainer of the winner New Approach, had left the horse entered for the race "by mistake", having not initially intended to run.

THE MUMMIFICATION PROCESS-HOW WERE EGYPTIANS TURNED IN TO MUMMIES????






  You might know what a mummy is, but do you know how they were turned into mummies? Here we will explore the process of mummification, the reasons behind it and the religious rites associated with it.
   A mummy is the dried and embalmed body of a dead human being. The ancient Egyptians are the best known of the peoples who preserved the bodies of the dead. However, the practice has existed among many other groups throughout the world.  The natives of the Aleutian Islands removed the entrails from the body of a deceased individual of importance, carefully washed the body, dried it, wrapped it in furs, and suspended it in a sheltered cave. The Peruvian Indians prepared mummies, which were sometimes petitioned in religious rituals to grant food and long life. The Peruvians eviscerated each corpse, probably dried it thoroughly, then wrapped it in many yards of cloth.












   The Egyptians believed that everyone had a soul in the form of a bird with a human face. During life this soul resided in the belly or the heart, but after a person's death it was freed. In the daytime the soul would fly wherever it wished, but at night it had to return to the tomb. In order to allow the soul to find the right tomb, the body of the deceased person had to be carefully preserved.
   It took 70 days to mummify a dead person. The process was accompanied by religious rituals. The embalmers set up shop near the larger temples or pitched a tent near the home of the deceased. The first step was the removal of those parts of the body most difficult to preserve, such as the brain and organs. The rest of the body was treated with natron (which as it was found in Egypt consisted of washing soda mixed with baking soda), which, with the help of the Egyptian climate, dried the body. This done, the mummy was wrapped in linen. At least 20 layers of linen, several hundred square feet of cloth, were used.













   Meanwhile, numerous workers were engaged in constructing a tomb, preparing a coffin, and assembling all the articles to be buried with the mummy. Scribes wrote a magical text, the Book of the Dead, which gave the deceased informations on how to get to the afterworld. These texts were written on papyrus rolls and were often beautifully decorated.












   These preparations led up to the funeral procession, which included mourners, servants, and priests. The mummy was deposited in its tomb to await, according to Egyptian belief, the weighing of its deed in the scale of Osiris.
   Since the Egyptian gods were associated with animals, the Egyptians also mummified jackals, cats, snakes, lizards, hawks, bulls, baboons, and crocodiles. Near the cities there were large cemeteries for animals.

SUPERMAN CELEBRATION FROM METROPOLIS, ILLINOIS!

Original "Superman" George Reeves and "Lois Lane" Noel Neill




   Metropolis, IL’s biggest week of the year is drawing near. From Thursday, June 9, through Sunday, June 12 the town of fewer than 7000 people will become a real metropolis, or at least close to it, as thousands of visitors from around the country, and even around the world, visit for the 33rd annual Superman Celebration!
   "It's a chance for people of all ages to come together and just enjoy a weekend of fun," explained Metropolis Tourism Director Angie Shelton. "You never know who you'll meet... and you never know what you’ll see!"
   As always, a big draw for Superman enthusiasts is the lineup of celebrities. Last year's special guests included Laura Vandervoort and Sam Witwer from television’s Smallville; Noel Neill, Lois Lane from The Adventures of Superman; Ilya Salkind, producer of Superman I, II and III; and the legendary comic book artist, Carmine Infantino.

   2017 marks the 45th year that Metropolis has been designated as the adopted "Home of Superman".
   This years celebration will be dedicated to the memory of Noel Neill.  The first lady that had portrayed Lois Lane in the very first Superman t.v. series.  Neil was a repeat guest to the Superman Celebration for many years and was given the title of "First Lady of Metropolis".  A statue of her portraying Lois Lane was revealed in her honor.  Noel passed away July 2016.  This year the Celebration takes place June 8th to June 11th.










   In addition to Infantino, artists and writers, including Dave Beaty, Josh Elder and members of the Mid-south Cartoonist Association, were among those who shared their love of comics with visitors to the Celebration.
To honor Noel Neill, the "First Lady of Metropolis," a statue of her likeness was unveiled at 10 a.m. Friday, June 11 at the corner of Eighth and Market streets. The slightly larger-than-life bronze statue features Neill in her famous pose as reporter Lois Lane. The statue is the centerpiece of a newly constructed setting which features engraved bricks. Hundreds of people purchased personalized bricks to help fund the $65,000 project.











   Returning to this year's line-up are the 2nd Annual Superman Super Site Meet & Greet at Dippin Dots (RSVP here!), Stump the Superman Expert, a Cheetos Eating Contest and game-show type event, "60 Seconds to be Super."
   During the four-day celebration, visitors can sample food items at numerous cafes-on-wheels and browse sidewalk sales. The always-popular carnival brings all sorts of exciting rides, along with concessions, including corn dogs and cotton candy.
   Right in the middle of all of the activities visitors will have the opportunity to pose with the world-famous 15-foot-tall bronze statue of Superman and tour the SuperMuseum, which holds the largest collection of Superman memorabilia in the world.











   The annual Superman Celebration takes place in Metropolis, Illinois which has welcomed tourists and curiosity seekers to the one-and-only official "Home of Superman" for over three decades. A billboard with the image of Superman points the way to downtown Metropolis for motorists entering the city from the east side. Other images of the super hero can be found all around this town of less than seven thousand inhabitants.
   Superman souvenirs are available everywhere as well. At one time, the Chamber gave away free packets of Kryptonite to children but were forced to cease this tradition when "DC Comics" claimed the practice was a copyright violation.










   Things haven't always been so rosy in Metropolis though.
   In 1972, the town had plans to build a thousand-acre "Amazing World of Superman", a $50 million theme park, with a 200-foot-tall statue. Cars would drive between Superman's legs to enter the park. Then the Arabs shut off the oil and the bankers shut down Metropolis's dream.
   The town took over a decade to recover. Then, very cautiously, Metropolis scraped together a thousand bucks in 1986 and put up a seven-foot fiberglass Superman in the town square. It quickly became a target for literal-minded vandals who wanted to see if the Man of Steel was stronger than a speeding bullet. He wasn't, and once again Metropolis's efforts to celebrate their hero were thwarted. What could a small town like Metropolis do?











   In 1993, they did a lot. On June 5th, citizens of Metropolis unveiled a new fifteen-foot bronze statue of Superman preceding the town's fifteenth annual Superman Celebration. Built by the same company that created the Emmy statue outside the Academy of Television Arts in Hollywood, the monument to the most famous flying hero ever stands proudly in full color in front of the courthouse on Superman Square. Tens of thousands have since visited the statue, and it has become a focal point of the small town's revival in both an economic and cultural sense. (Several community service groups raised over $100,000 for the project by selling personalized bricks that beautify the base and walkway around the statue.)





Superman with some of his arch enemies





   Metropolis, Illinois, is located just across the Ohio River from Padukah, Kentucky. From Interstate 24, follow Route 45 West for about five miles. Once you cross Massac Creek, the highway twists left then right before turning into Fifth Street. The Superman statue, located at the center of town, is at the intersection of Fifth and Market Streets. You can leave your car in any of the designated parking spots, and easily walk to all of the sites.


THE NOEL NEILL STATUE





Noel Neill with her "Lois Lane" statue




    In 2005, The Metropolis Chamber of Commerce, Metropolis Illinois, the Home of Superman, announced the formation of "The Noel Neill Statue Committee".
   The committee's sole purpose is to spearhead and oversee the construction of a life-size bronze statue of Noel Neill as "Lois Lane" to be placed in Metropolis, Illinois.
The idea is to acknowledge Noel's contributions to the Superman Celebration as the "First Lady of Metropolis" and her portrayal of Lois Lane in the Serials and the TV series of the 1950s, "The Adventures of Superman" with an honorable and permanent gesture of love from the citizens of Metropolis and from her countless fans around the world.




The original Superman gang




   The concept was presented to Noel at her 85th Birthday Party held in North Hollywood, California and, with Noel's blessing, a competition for the design of a Noel Neill as Lois Lane statue was thrown open to Sculptors everywhere!
   Pictures of the 2 foot size scale model of the winning sculpture were unveiled at the 2008 Superman Celebration in June 2008.
     The revenue from all bricks and commemorative plaques will help pay for the sculpting and the placement of the statue which will be in close proximity to the existing Superman statue.










   The groundbreaking ceremony for the six foot, bronze Noel Neill Statue took place on Saturday, June 13, 2009 during the 2009 Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois.
   The unveiling ceremony took place at 10am on Friday, June 11, 2010 at the corner of Eighth and Market streets. Neill traveled from California for the special honor, and met the artist who sculpted her likeness, Gary Ernest Smith. Smith, and Kevin Maag, from Metal Art Foundry, made the journey from Utah for the ceremony. Mayor Billy McDaniel and other local officials also took part in the unveiling ceremony

THE GAME OF THE BRIDGE FROM ITALY!!






   Disputed in the last Sunday in June, it is undoubtedly the event the Pisans feel most strongly about . On that one day they once more discover the heated opposition between the factions, ready to root for the colors of their own Magistratura (or Court. The ‘Magistratura’ is the political-military organization of a quarter or of the team which participates in the Game). The Gioco del Ponte virtually closes the events of the Giugno Pisano, reproposing, in the magnificent setting of the lungarni which are jammed with people (generally there are no less than 100,000 spectators, sometimes many more) the ancient historical opposition between the Parties of Mezzogiorno (south of the Arno) and Tramontana (north of the river). The actual battle is preceded by a historical










procession with participants wearing period armature and costumes (around 750 in Spanish style) and with the banners of the participating teams of the four ‘historical’ quarters of Pisa, represented on the city plan by dividing lines that coincide with the intersection of the axis of Borghi-Ponte di Mezzo-Corso Italia with the curve of the Arno: S. Maria, S. Francesco (Tramontana); S. Antonio, S. Martino (Mezzogiorno), to which are added the formations of S. Michele, Mattaccini, Satiri, Calcesana – for the northern part – and those of S. Marco, Leoni, Delfini, Dragoni – for the southern part.











   The Gioco del Ponte is a historical re-evocation, where elements of folklore fuse with the proud warrior tradition of the Parties, who fight for possession of the bridge, no longer with maces shields and ‘targoni’ (an instrument in wood still carried by the combatants during the procession, it is offensive and defensive at the same time, spreading out and rounded off at the top, sharp and pointed at the bottom) but challenging each other in a trial of strength which consists in pushing a











heavy "Carrello" (carriage) weighing approximately seven tons, set on tracks fifty meters long. The final victory goes to the Party which has won the greater number of battles, pushing the trolley into the enemy field and knocking over the staff with the banner with the colors of the enemy party.










   While the origins of the game are lost in the mists of time (a legend attributes its institution to Pelops, the mythical founder of Pisa, who wanted to recall his native Olimpic Games; another to the roman emperor Hadrian who attempted to present a ‘Pisan’ version of gladiatoral combats on the shores of the Arno; and still another has it that the Games were instituted in memory of the battle on the bridge between Pisans










and Saracens on the occasion of the legendary episode of Kinzica de’ Sismondi), mention of a Gioco del Ponte does appear in 1490. It was Lorenzo the Magnificent who decided to transfer the game into its natural setting. Previously, as far back as could be remembered a sort of medieval tournament called Gioco del Mazzascudo had been held in the piazza delle Sette Vie (now piazza dei Cavalieri) between the Parties of the Rooster and the Magpie and which was thought to be the ancestor of the present Game. Originally the Gioco del Ponte took place twice a year: January 17th, the day of Saint











   Anthony Abbot, was the date of the so-called ‘Battagliaccia’, a sort of dress rehearsal of the ‘Battaglia Generale’ which almost always took place on the occasion of visits to Pisa of the various rulers and other noble guests. It continued to be held until 1782 when it was suppressed by Pietro Leopoldo on grounds of public order. After an extraordinary edition (1807) it lapsed into oblivion until it was re-introduced in 1935. Suspended because of the war, it returned to the bridge from 1950 to 1963. After another lengthy interruption, the event returned to its original magnificence in the edition of 1982.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A LITTLE TRIVIA TO GET THE BRAIN GOING, 13 FACTS ABOUT THE GRIM REAPER!






   As spooky sights go, a glimpse of the Grim Reaper is enough to send a shiver down most spines. He is Death personified, and his scythe is legendary for severing our souls from our bodies at the appointed time.  The Grim Reaper is very popular on Halloween, but he also figures prominently in historical tales and popular culture throughout the year. Get to know the Grim Reaper with these thirteen thrilling facts. (Most people don't get to know him until it's too late!)



1. It is believed that the Grim Reaper is based on the Greek god Chronos, also known as Father Time. Chronos' ties to time and the harvest spawned the symbolism of the Reaper's hourglass and scythe.

2. In the Biblical Book of Revelations, Death is personified as one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He is the third to ride, and his mount is a pale horse.











3. Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics portray Death as a teenaged girl.

4. The Showtime series Dead Like Me features an assortment of Grim Reapers from all walks of life. In addition to their Reaper duties, the characters hold down regular jobs (for the most part), and struggle with many of the same challenges they faced as mortals.

5. Death, in typical Grim Reaper regalia, is a recurring character in Terry Pratchitt's Discworld novels. This Death has been known to go on vacation, engage in fly-fishing, play the guitar, pass out holiday gifts, and enjoy a good curry from time to time. He also likes cats. A lot.











6. In Cartoon Network's The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, the Grim Reaper was forced to befriend the title characters after losing a limbo contest.

7. The Grim Reaper Society is an anti-smoking movement and accounting of smoking-related deaths.

8. The Reaper is also used to discourage young people from drinking and driving in a campaign by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and others.












9. One religious group worships the Grim Reaper as a saint, whom they call Santa Muerte. Though this group seeks official recognition, the Catholic Church doesn't seem to approve.


10. Ingmar Bergman's 1957 movie, The Seventh Seal, shows a young knight challenging Death to a game of chess. The knight's life is the wager.


11. In the Sims PC game, you can play rock-paper-scissors with the Grim Reaper to win back the life of a loved one.  You can also try begging.

12. The Grim Reaper might be above the law, but his impersonators are not. A couple of Reapers have been arrested in recent years. Their crimes? Civil disobedience. Another was detained for frightening elderly folks by peering into their windows at night.











13. Oscar, a cat that resides in a New England nursing home, has been nicknamed a "furry Grim Reaper" because of his uncanny ability to predict patients' deaths.

CALCIO STORICO FROM ITALY!!







COSTUMED WITH A MEDIEVAL AIR

   A sport for all times, the Calcio Storico or traditional football played in costume, in Florence, Italy, dates back to the 15th century. Woven with Italian brain, brawn and passion, the Calcio Storico was played by the aristocratic young noble men in front of the Basilica of Santa Croce and some times in the areas of Via Il Prato, Piazza della Signoria or Piazza Santa Maria Novella in celebration of the Feast of St. John. Held every year on June 24th, the awesome pageant of the Calcio Storico takes you to its ancient origins where ‘calcio in costume’ or ‘costume football’ was played for over 500 years.





The playing field





   With traditional districts to identify each of the four teams, the Calcio Storico, ‘calcio livrea’ or ‘football in livery’, colors the spirited pageant with the teams dressed in different colors, blue for St. Croce, red for St. Maria Novella, white for St. Spirito and green for St. Giovanni. Stimulating and involving body, mind and soul, the bloody and violent sport of the Calcio Storico stunned even the armies of Charles V, who had come to re-install the Medici government with the sound of firearms and the cannon tearing through the air. The Florentines continued their game as if nothing had happened as His Royal Majesty and his Imperial army stared in utter shock at the Renaissance costumed players as they proudly upheld their traditional game.












   Written by Count Giovanni de’Bardi di Vernio in 1580 in his ‘Treatise on Football’, the Calcio Storico has 54 players divided into two teams which are lined up in three rows.
 Though there are no major rules in this game, the final result has to end in a ‘caccia’ or goal. Each end of the opposite walls has a four-foot wooden wall that runs its entire length. The round red and white ball is tossed over the wooden wall which denotes a ‘caccia’ or a goal. In the center of each goal wall a narrow white tent with red trimmings and a red flag guards its goal while the captain of the team with the flag






Some of the pageantry




bearer stand with the respective team’s flag near the tent. The color of the balls and the tents vary according to the designated teams who are playing the match. Each year it varies and the finalists play the last match which decides the winner for that year. The game resembles Greco-Roman wrestling simulating the movements and motions with a mixture of rugby and soccer. The color of the balls and the tents vary according to the designated teams who are playing the match. The game itself is said to originate from an ancient Roman ball sport, which became the sport of princes and noblemen in the golden age of the Tuscan capital.












   With sand layering the entire square, the players run with the ball in their hands and pass it to their team mates. As they run, the opponent team tries to stop the player and pin them down till they are rescued by their own team players. This often results in their costumes being torn to bits and the players bloodied up but not too severely. There are six referees positioned at various points dressed in colorful Renaissance outfit of smooth velvet caps with ostrich feathers and a doublet of rich shades with knickerbockers. The referee judge with a sword has a plumed hat that he sweeps with a flourish to acknowledge change of sides. The goal scored by the winning team spurs the standard bearer to run around the square waving the team’s flag, whilst the losing











team’s standard bearer looks down-faced. Before each game is played, a long and solemn procession starts from Piazza Santa Maria Novella at 4 p.m., and winds through Via de’Banchi into Via Rondinelli to Via Tornabuoni going through Via Strozzi, around Piazza della Republica and into Via degli Speziali and up the winding Via Calzaiuoli to the picturesque Piazza della Signora right to Via della Ninna and finally through Via de’Neri till it reaches Borgo Santa Croce with much fanfare and trumpets.
   Horsemen follow with foot soldiers in armor or the ‘alabardieri’, completely suited with the ancient Florentine helmets of iron and corsalets of leather. Twenty drummers perform in sync, wearing dashing yellow and blue silk tunics with the famous crimson












lily of Florence emblazoned on their drums as a symbol of freedom and peace. The Ball Bearer carries the ball with the colors of the chosen teams followed by twenty six infantry men in colorful uniforms with feathers in their caps. A young heifer bedecked with garlands being the traditional prize of the winners is led by two oxen drivers who are dressed in white smocks with leather vests with enthusiastic shouts of ‘Viva Fiorenza!’ echoing around. A presenter announces the members of the aristocratic











families who are followed by the gonalfiers, the keepers of the four ancient city quarters of Santa Croce, Santo Spirito, Santa Maria Novella and San Giovanni. Then the representatives of the old corporations, the musicians, the flag bearers, the mace carriers, the referees and the players in their beautiful Renaissance attire walk with the parade. This fantastic pageant was a traditional festival it was stopped for a period in 1739 by the Grand Dukes of Lorraine, but was re-started in 1930 by the Fascist Government. The historical game of the Calcio Storico follows its traditional rules with the Santa Croce area having the Blues or the Azzuri, San Giovanni with the Greens or the Verdi, Santa Maria Novella with the Reds or the Rossi and Santo Spirito with the whites or the Bianchi. The game does not allow anyone with a criminal record to participate in it. Over 500 dignitaries that include military officers, politicians, bankers,











 judges, nobility and rich merchants walk behind the parade in their bright and rich Renaissance costumes. The flag bearers in their costumes of short tunics and soft leather boots with tights carry sixteen flags with different symbols. The sound of the cannon heralds the bandierai who perform awesome acrobatics with their sticks as the parade retires to their respective seats.  Following the semi-finals, the final match takes place on 24 June and winners are rewarded with a mass of steaks equivalent in weight to the more traditional prize of a white calf or bistecca fiorentina, which was historically butchered for the occasion, and then there are fireworks after all of the other festivities have ended.




                                                                   

BOI BUMBA FROM BRAZIL!






  The Boi Bumbá Festival presents myths, tales and legends using characters, parade carts and giant puppets followed by the words of a master of ceremonies who describes in detail every bit of the action.
   It is an incredible musical and theatrical experience, a religious procession, a tribal ritual, a giant puppet show, a fairy tale of powerful villains and brave heroes, a folk art presentation, a major party for the audience and an energizing choreography of the galera (gah-le-rah), all at once. The characters in the performance come from the Boi Bumbá tale. There are two teams called Bois (plural of Boi). Each one tells the same story in all three night of the festival, amounting to 6 different performances of the same show. But every night is different because legends, rituals, dances, puppets, garments, alegorias, they all change and create the show anew.










   There are many similar festivities in Brazil, but Parintins is the home of the biggest and most impressive of all. It is both an artistic display and a dispute between two different teams: Bois Caprichoso (cah-pree-show-zol) and Garantido (gah-run-tee-dow). Boi is the Portuguese word for ox, and it is also the main character of the drama that unfolds every night in an arena closely watched by 35,000 people. After the 3-hour show of each Boi, the city has food, drinks and party for everybody. The main square, countless bars and every little corner near the Bumbódromo accommodate a crowd still full of energy to mimic the dance and songs of their favorite Boi.











   Parintins folklore has its own principles: it expresses spontaneous culture and evolves freely, always in its own terms. It is not clear exactly how the whole thing started. Some accounts hold that Lindolfo Monteverde, the alleged creator of Garantido, brought to life a bedtime story he used to hear from his grandfather. Similarly, Caprichoso is considered to be a creation of José Furtado Belém and the Cid brothers. Each Boi would be the result of a different promessa to St. John the Baptist.
   The play tells the story of Pai Francisco, who worked in a farm, and Mãe Catirina, his pregnant wife who longed to eat beef tongue. Pai Francisco kills an ox to satisfy his wife's craving. Unfortunately, this ox is the farm owner's favorite. A priest and a doctor fail to revive the Boi, for whose death Pai Francisco would be sent to jail. The story has a happy end thanks to the ritual performed by a pajé (pa-zhe, shaman) . Pai Francisco is forgiven and the whole ordeal ends in a major party that celebrates the Boi's life.











   Celebrations in Parintins Parintins began modestly enough with processions throughout the city. As time went by, the festival, the story and the characters changed to incorporate legends, rituals, music and dance of local indians and to celebrate the lifestyle of the caboclo, the countryman who has a mixed heritage of Europeans an aborigines.

History of The Festival

   Some people say that Bumbá Garantido was founded by Lindolfo Monteverde.
   As a young boy, Monteverde enjoyed hearing the stories his grandfather used to tell. His favorite story was the tale of a happy and cheerful ox who danced and was deeply loved by everyone. One day, Pai Francisco , who worked for the farm owner, kills the ox to fulfill the desire of Mãe Catirina , his pregnant wife, to eat beef tongue. The












couple is then chased by all villagers while a doctor, a priest, the owner and his daughter Sinhazinha try to save the ox's life. After much praying the ox is resuscitated, to the great joy of all. A huge party then takes place and Pai Francisco , the story's villain, is forgiven.
   Years later the story remained in Monteverde's imagination, so one day he built a wooden frame, covered in fabric and paraded around Parintins with his Boi Bumbá .
   After Monteverde joined the army, he became very sick and made a promessa (prayer) to St. John the Baptist. He promised that if he ever regained his health, his Boi would always come to the streets, as long as he lived. His prayer was answered, and that was the beginning of Boi Garantido.











   According to the legend, Monteverde was a fine improvisation artist and created impromptu verses for the toadas as teasers for the opposite Boi . His deep voice could be heard from far away.
   Boi Garantido is white and his symbol is a red heart. There are several versions for the origin of the Garantido name. According to one of them, once during the show one of the horns of “Boi contrário” ( Caprichoso ) fell down. Monteverde immediately seized the opportunity and sang “our Boi always comes out in one piece. That is for sure! (‘ garantido ')”. In another version of the story, a Caprichoso singer said “take care this year, for my Boi is finely built (“ caprichado ”). To which Monteverde responded “well, then finely build yours, for mine is sure thing (‘garantido')!” There are many other versions and people in Parintins are always eager to tell them.










   Bumbá Caprichoso was allegedly created by the Cid brothers in 1913 in what is now the “blue portion” of the city. They moved to Parintins in search of work. They wanted to start a family and a new life. They too made promessas to St. John the Baptist, and their prayers were answered. In return they built an ox puppet in honor of the Saint.
   José Furtado Belém, a lawyer and politician from Parintins, saw a Boi dance when he went to Manaus . He liked the idea and created Boi Galante with the Cid brothers. The first version was a crude cardboard box that came to the streets in june 1922. In 1925, a group of people that included the Cid brothers wanted to create a Boi Bumbá . Colonel João Meireles named it Caprichoso , a Boi from Manaus of which he was a big fan. Caprichoso began as a group of 20 with a blue star as a symbol.










The Competition

   The festival also is a competition. The winner is chosen by a jury that evaluates each Boi according to several criteria, such as the presentation of the Boi, the indian tribe and their chiefs tuxauas (to-shall-us), the shaman rituals, songs, alegorias, choreographies, etc. One of the most fascinating aspects of the festival is the enthusiastic participation of the audience in the Bumbódromo. The support of the galeras (the crowd of fans cheering for each Boi) is also evaluated by the judges, and each Boi has people who are in charge of organizing the galera. The Bumbódromo is divided in two halves for the Garantido and Caprichoso fans, who dance and wave handkerchiefs and candles. They rock and roll when each new character comes into the scene.
   People are very serious about taking sides in Parintins. Everybody in town has roots that go all the way up to one of the teams, and there is no compromise between them. You can never ever support the wrong Boi – for if you do so, the opposite Boi could win. Even with such strong feelings, hooligans have no place here. Whenever one side is performing, the other maintains complete silence.
   In the morning of the fourth day, the winner is announced, after which the fans and supporters of the winning Boi parade around town. Both sides are swept in emotion, but the police is on the watch and prevents any disorderly behavior.












Folklore, Myths and Legends of The Festival

   The Boi Bumbá festival presents myths, tales and legends using characters, parade carts and giant puppets followed by the words of a master of ceremonies who describes in detail every bit of the action.
   The characters in the performance come from the Boi Bumba; tale. The main character is the Boi , played by a man named tripa (“guts”) who dances holding a frame covered in fabric. There are two Bois : Garantido is white with a red heart on its forehead, while Caprichoso is black and has a blue star. In Parintins, the vaqueiros of the tale are replaced by Pai Francisco, Mãe Catirina, Amo do Boi and Sinhazinha. Together, they lead the boi, who is wounded, killed and then revived.
   The presence of Indian s Maué, Sapupé and Parintins, who lived in the island long before the tale was created, is also incorporated to the plot. There is the Pajé, who resuscitates the Boi; Cunhã-Poranga, the icon of female beauty who conquers the hearts of the tribe warriors; and the Tuxauas, the symbol of divinity and Indian wisdom.
   Parintins Bumbódromo is the stage where characters from Indian myths - Iara, Curupira, Gigante Juma, Cobra Grande, Formiga do Fogo, boto cor-de-rosa - come to life.
  The music in the festival is strongly influenced by Indian traditions, as evidenced by the use of the palminhas, maracás de lata and drums. The tribe tuxauas parade to the beat of an Indian dance.











 In Parintins, Bumba-meu-boi is also a token of gratitude towards St. John . The festival is in June precisely because it is also the month traditionally associated with that saint. It is a part of the festas juninas (June celebrations) cycle, which includes celebrations in honor of St. Anthony and St. Peter. [For more information see Folclore brasileiro by Nilza B. Megale, Editora Vozes; A ciência do folclore by Rossini Tavares de Lima, Editora Martins Fontes; Dicionário do folclore brasileiro by Luís da Câmara Cascudo, E ditora Global.
   Not unlike most popular celebrations in Northeastern Brazil , Parintins festival has a large public participation. There are some three thousand brincantes in the celebration.
   Shamanism involves mystical ceremonies in which the shaman – a wich doctor with supernatural healing powers, ability to communicate with spirits and tell the future – comes into a trance and supposedly leaves his own body. The presence of shamans is mandatory in the performance (much like of the baianas section in Brazilin Carnival), which takes a lot of research from the organizers, once it must be historically correct. The Pajé and the Tuxuauas bring about the happy end by reviving the Boi . The pajelança , a mystical healing ceremony, invokes the soul of the beast, which is different every year (the cobra grande , for instance) which is invoked in order to bring the Boi back to life.





  





It is only natural that the Parintins folk festival changed with time due to the contact with Indian culture. Before the eighteenth century, intellectuals regarded popular manifestations as a byproduct of ignorance in arts and sciences. In the nineteenth century, experts accepted the liveliness and spontaneity of those manifestations, in contrast with academic formalism. A careful analysis can detect all kinds of influences in popular manifestations, such as ancient religious beliefs, basic wishes and fears of human beings, political longings of the population and even historical facts