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Alphabe Thursday … H is for Hand-puppets

July 11, 2013

While in Brazil earlier this year we visited National Museum of Folklore and Popular Culture in Rio.

I was intrigued by the puppets there: and discovered since a little more about them.  

They are called Mamulengo and typical of northeastern Brazil, especially in the state Pernambuco. The name originated from the Brazilian for the ‘soft hand’ that gives the puppet movement and life.

I understand that the theatres are much like our English Punch and Judy show.  A performance that consists of a sequence of short scenes, each depicting an interaction between two characters. As in Punch and Judy there is the tussle between one dominant and the other weaker character. The two puppets are usually operated by one man, I am not sure if there are more operators that give movement and voice to more dolls in the Brazilian show.

The Mamulengo is part of the popular culture of the northeast Brazil and practiced since the colonial times perhaps imported at that time from Europe like our Punch and Judy.

The performances are in public, as a side show during religious festivals and public holidays.  They might present biblical stories or portrayals of everyday situations and the behaviour of people; and usually comic and dark.

In England Punch and Judy was intended for adult audiences but has evolved into children’s entertainment since Victorian Times; I am not sure whether this is so true in Brazil.

alphabet thursday

13 Comments leave one →
  1. pearlmaple permalink
    July 11, 2013 11:00 am

    fun puppets, sad that we don’t seem them used in entertainment as much these days

  2. July 11, 2013 11:33 pm

    Great post! I had hand puppets as a child.

  3. July 12, 2013 2:20 am

    the puppets look odd to me but I guess it’s different when you see them move. great H post.

    hope you have a great day.

    • July 12, 2013 8:50 am

      You are right … almost ugly! But a joy nonetheless! I hope you to have a good day _/\_

  4. July 12, 2013 4:56 pm

    I love the fact that a country still has puppet performances. Long ago I saw Thai shadow puppets and was delighted at the show and creativity of the puppet designers.

    • July 12, 2013 5:01 pm

      It is the eastern puppets that I would like to see!! They look so beautiful _/\_ xx

  5. July 13, 2013 4:07 pm

    so interesting. I love seeing folklore from different countries. I wonder what it all looks like, “backstage,” with that one man acting two parts! {:-Deb

  6. July 15, 2013 3:34 pm

    Bit scary but what a shame children today do not use puppets as much in play.

  7. July 17, 2013 4:49 pm

    I have always loved hand puppets.

    My Grandlittles still like their finger puppets.

    I think there’s no happier moments in childhood than the ones involving imaginative play!

    Thanks for linking!


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