King Momo

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King Momo at Florianopolis's Carnival, in 2005.

King Momo or King Momos or King Momus, (Rei Momo in Portuguese or Rey Momo in Spanish) is considered the king of Carnivals in numerous Latin American festivities, mainly in Brazil and Colombia. His appearance signifies the beginning of the Carnival festivities. Each carnival has its own King Momo, who is often given the key to the city. Traditionally, a tall, fat man is chosen to fulfill the role because the original King Momo was of that physical stature.

In Argentina and Uruguay Rey Momo is more often represented by a big, sometimes monumental, doll made of papier-mâché over a wooden or wire structure. In these cases it is carried in a tow or at the top of a truck, and presides the carnival with a royal court of dancers. While a doll, it conserves its traditional features: flamboyant and colorful clothing, a smiling or joyful face and a prominent belly. It used to be burnt at the end of the festivities, also being its climax, but this practice is being discouraged in recent times for safety reasons.


King Momus derives from the Greek god Momus (μῶμος) .[1]

King Momos of Rio de Janeiro[edit]

Probably the most famous of the King Momos are found in Rio de Janeiro where the tradition of a presiding king goes back to 1933. [1]:

Marcelo Reis, King Momo of Carioca Carnival in 2005.
Year Name
1933-1948 Paper Mache Doll
1949-1950 Gustavo Mattos
1951-1957 Nélson Nobre
1958-1971 Abrahão Haddad
1972 Edson Seraphin de Santana
1973 Elson Gomes da Silva (Macula)
1974-1982 Edson Seraphin de Santana
1983 Paolo Vicente Paccelli
1984 Roberto Barbosa de Castro (Roberto)
1985-1986 Edson Seraphin de Santana
1987-1995 Reynaldo de Carvalho (Bola)
1996 Paulo César Braga Champorry
1997-2003 Alex de Oliveira
2004 Wagner Jorge Vanderson Santos Monteiro
2005 Marcelo de Jesus Reis
2006-2008 Alex de Oliveira
2009-2013 Milton Rodrigues
2014-2016 Wilson Neto
2017- Fábio Damião Dos Santos Antunes
Waldemar Esteves da Cunha, King Momo of Santos, with the Queen Mira, in Brazilian Carnival of 1988.

King Momos of Santos[edit]

Waldemar Esteves da Cunha (born 1920 - died 2013) [2] was King Momo of Santos from 1950 to 1956 and from 1958 to 1990, and until he was 92 and pensioned, he was the oldest Momo in Brazil.[3]

See also[edit]