July 5, 2020

The animals of the Amazon cry out for respect at the Brazilian carnival



Dolphins, macaws, alligators and dozens of other wild animals of the Brazilian Amazon took the streets of the municipality of Cametá, inside the state of Pará, in a carnival parade that has become a cry for the preservation of the environment in the Brazil’s biggest party.

Since 1975, the children’s group “Bloco de los padas” parades every Carnival Sunday through the streets of Cametá, located in the northern state of Pará, in a celebration that mixes colors, rhythms, teaching and awareness.

The costumes, made from natural and synthetic materials, are produced by the inhabitants of the remote Vila Juaba, located in the heart of the Amazon and where about 3,000 people live.

As some residents told Efe, the entire community works together to sew, assemble and deliver within tens of costumes, which emulate the most varied animals of the rich fauna of the largest tropical forest in the world, such as monkeys, birds, botos Roses and reptiles.

EDUCATING LUDICALLY

The tradition began with Mestre Zanobio, 70, and who over 40 years ago is dedicated to the art of producing costumes from the remains of vegetables and other organic materials that make up the parade, which seeks to highlight the importance of the environmental preservation in a playful and didactic way.

“My family collaborates with the ‘bloco’ from the beginning. My cousins, my brothers, all were part of the bloco of the packs,” retired Marise Aragao told Efe.

He added that the entire community, “from young people to the elderly,” is involved throughout the year in preparations for the parade, traditionally held on Carnival Sunday for 45 years.

In the streets, in addition to a lot of rhythm and dancing, the project also offers educational talks with which it seeks to teach the carnivals about the relationship between men and nature and warn of the damage caused by the destruction of the environment.

With the passage of time, the “bloco de los padas” was gaining more and more followers and gained “great impact” throughout the state of Pará and, more recently, also in social networks, said retired fisherman Astrogildo Carvalho.

“Mestre Zenobio founded it and soon it was gaining repercussion in the municipality, within the cities, in the capital Belem and even came to participate in television programs,” Carvalho said.

So much popularity resulted in the “bloco”, as the street troupes that command the party that takes over Brazil during the carnival are known, will pass from 20 animals represented at the beginning to more than 120 this year.

Thus, with a colorful and relaxed atmosphere, dozens of children invaded the streets to start the exotic carnival of the town of Cametá, of just over 100,000 inhabitants and one of the oldest in Pará, in a large open-air party where Animals of the Amazonian fauna ask for passage and cry out for respect.

“YOU MUST GIVE MORE VALUE TO LOCAL CULTURE”

However, Carvalho recalled that it is the inhabitants themselves who bear all the costs of production, travel and maintenance of the costumes and other artifacts used in the party.

Therefore, he considered that the authorities should “give more value to the local culture” and offer support to the maintainers of this established tradition.

“There is a lack of support from the mayor’s office and the big businessmen because today everything is expensive and it is difficult for us to take it all alone,” he said, while his wife lamented that residents have to “buy all the material for costumes and, in sometimes, even paying for transportation “to parade venues.

Raymond Paccó

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