This feature is designed to spark your interest in researching the world of capoeira's vocabulary, history, and philosophy.
Our Capoeira Wiki-Word series invites you to research the word of the week and post your definition(s) and translations. At the end of each week, the entries will be reviewed and then summarized into a translation and a definition of the Capoeira Wiki-Word of the week.
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This week's Capoeira Wiki-Word is:
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A few weeks ago Raposa asked about the connection of São Bento with capoeria. I became very curious and did a bit of research and found only articles about him in Portuguese. So I thought I would share some of the information I found.
São Bento (short for São Benedito/Saint Benedict)
São Benedito (also known as São Benedito, the Negro, São Benedito, the African or São Benedito, the Moor).
Some say he was born in 1524 in Sicily, south of Italy, into a poor family descendent of slaves that came from Ethiopia. Others say that he was a slave brought from Northen Africa to south Italy and was of Moor origin instead of Ethipoian.
In spite of being illiterate, his brothers thought of him an enlightened being because of his prophecies. Among his holy qualities, he vowed to poverty, obedience and chastity and was pursued by the ones even more poor than him for the miracles he performed.
There were many stories about the miracles he performed including resurrecting infants, all really beautiful. I liked this one: Working at the kitchen of a convent, Bento would hide food under his garment and take it to the poor that lived in the streets. In one of his outings, he was inquired by his superior about what he was hiding under his cloak. Bento answered humbly: “Roses, my Lord”. And opened his cloak to reveal only roses of incredible beauty under his garment.
Because of his miracles, nowadays many religious people like to do a "Novena de São Benedito", in the hopes of bringing forth some kind of "miracle" to their lives. If that interests you... well I better stop here because that is a whole other matter.
Hope this information was fun. By the way, although he performed many miracles, he wasn't a capoeirista. And his connection to capoeira? Slavery? Miracles?
From Tamandua via wikipedia...
Saint Benedict is also a saint you call on for physical protection. So at least in that way, the connection to capoeira is a practical one.
from "The Little Capoeira Book" by Mestre Nestor Capoeira page 50:
"Ai, ai, ai, ai, São Bento me chama."....
"Saint Bento is said to protect against snake bites, and it is also the name give to two berimbau rhythms, São Bento Pequeno and São Bento Grande. ...Among all the animals, the snake is the most celebrated one in capoeira songs, maybe because of its flexibility, and the fact that when it attacks it is quick, precise, treacherous and lethal.
Here is one of many songs that make reference to snakes:
Olha a cobra que morde / Senhor São Bento.
Watch out for the snake that bites / Senhor São Bento. "