An illustration of "Curupira"

Curupira is also a genus of tree in South America (Curupira tefeensis, Ximeniaceae or Olacaceae s. lat.).

The term curupira can also refer to a type of Maricoxi.

The Curupira or Curupura, or even Caipora is a male supernatural being who guards the forest in the Tupi mythology in Brazil.

He usually takes the form of a boy with (literally) flaming hair and green teeth. His most startling characteristic, however, is that his feet are turned to face backwards.

Its raison d'être is to protect the forest from the destructive habits of man. It happily tolerates those who hunt for food but is infuriated by those who hunt for the pleasure of it and will lay traps and confuse them so that they become eternally lost in the forest. His backward feet, for example, have the effect of confusing hunters who may try to follow his tracks.

The Curupira blends many features of West-African and European fairies but was usually regarded as a demonic figure.

Pop culture references

  • The TV series BeastMaster features a female version of Curupira played by Emilie de Ravin. Aside from gender and hair color (blonde), the representation is faithful to the description above, including the backward feet and the fierce protectiveness toward the forest and forest creatures.
  • There is a Colombian fusion band named Curupira. Their style is a mix of folk Colombian music with jazz, rock, funk, and other popular genres.
  • In the telenovela Os Mutantes - Caminhos do Coração of Brazilian origin, a mutant called Curupira appears in the series. He is a mutant with red hair and superhuman speed and strength. Unlike the myth, he doesn't appear to have backward feet at all and he is much more a villain figure being prone to kidnapping children and killing any human at his sight. He is the enemy of the vampire Rosana and the telekinetic Tati.
  • In Trivial Pursuit, Curupura appears on one of the cards with the following definition:
"Mythical, bald, one-eyed dwarf with enormous ears and hairy body, always seen riding a pig."

See also