Carnival Giant Dolls (Bonecos)
Carnival Giant Dolls are a focal point of Carnival. Llike many of the costumes worn by revelers, they reflect themes of humor, satire and scandal. They also reflect folklore and legends.
The giant dolls are of papier-maché and stand up to 5meters or 15 feet tall. Characters include politicians and celebrities, past and present. They can be seen each year, and new ones are often added. The most famous of them is the Homem da Meia-Noite (Man of Midnight). His appearance at midnight on the Saturday has been the official start of Olinda Carnival since 1932.
One of the highlights of Carnival in Olinda is the meeting of the Giant Dolls which takes place on the last day of Carnival. They start at different points, escorted by bands, and meet at several points around the city. They are also seen in the Carnival in Recife Antigo.
Artist Sílvio Botelho is the artist most associated with the making of the Giant dolls. Born in Olinda, Botelho started making masks from the age of 9. In 1974, when the only giants were the Man of Midnight and the Woman of Midday, Botelho was commissioned to create the Boy of Afternoon. Today there are many Giants, 90% by Botelho. His workshop, located on Rua do Amparo, is open to the public Monday to Friday.