What Is The Capoeira Batizado Ceremony?

By JYOTSNA

As Capoeira continues to spread around the globe, more and more people grow curios and become interested in the art. Schools sprout in local cities to teach Capoeira both in its traditional and contemporary forms.

The Batizado

The Batizado literally means "baptism" in Portuguese and is borrowed from the religious traditions of the past of welcoming new members in faith. There is no involvement of any religious acts during a Capoeira Batizado so all members of different faith are welcome to partake in the act.

Everyone knows that Capoeira is a sport that requires a lot of personal discipline, passion and physical fitness.Training under the Mestres of Capoeira is a challenge in itself too.
But almost all aspiring Capoeiristas come to a point of dedication�a self awareness turned public declaration of their intent to live the Capoeira culture.
Akin to baptizing a follower welcoming him to his chosen faith, Capoeiristas call this point as the "Batizado" and this jump starts their journey towards full training in the chosen Capoeira style.

Capoeira Regional and the Batizado

Mestre Bimba, the founder of Capoeira Regional, worked hard to maintain community bonds through Capoeira and he wanted to portray the Batizado not as a dreaded event for first timers but as a ceremony of trust and fellowship among brothers of the craft.
His Batizado consisted of giving capoeira nicknames to the new members which reflect that the new members are now welcome to join his group.
The tradition started in the 60's and it was simply to showcases the first time a student plays capoeira to the sound of the berimbau.

The practice of Capoiera Batizado did originate from Capoeira Regional but has been widely used also by the Capoeira Contemporanea groups.

Contemporanea and the batizado

Batizados in Contemporanea are usually large events and are very important for the group organizing it.

At this annual event, the new members will receive their first cords and the other members, depending on their progress, will receive a new or upgraded one.
A typical Batizado event can last for days and may consist of workshops, the actual Batizado rite itself and an event called a Troca de Cordas ("changing of the cords" of which symbolizes the level of a capoeirista).

It is also during this event where Capoeira nicknames are assigned to the new students. Often times, different Capoeira groups of different regions attend the ceremonies. This allows for the development of the game and community by contact with other players, teachers and styles.

Batizado proceedings

It is normally an annual event for a Capoeira group in a region or country.
A great deal of the Capoeira community, both near and far, will be invited to witness the event thereby strengthening the fraternity of Capoeira by camaraderie and interplay.

In Capoeira however, a batizado is an initiation ceremony where students can have the chance to showcase their skills alongside advanced students and mestres in the Capoeira roda within their respective group or association.
Besides being an initiation rite for the new students, a Capoeira Batizado is also a graduation ceremony for advanced students.

A Capoeira Batizado can be a great opportunity to see a variety of Capoeira styles, to watch mestres play, and to witness the participants play with perseverance and preparation.

Some Batizados are open to for public viewing to entice more new members.
When they are open to the public, it is a great chance for outsiders to learn about the art or simply just be entertained by the artistry and beauty of the art form.

The Batizado is a time of celebration and hard work for everybody.
It is during such event where you can see the teachers introduce their new students to their mestres, their peers and the group as a whole.
It is also the time when the students can show off their skills and learn new ones from experienced athletes.

If you happen to come across a Batizado event of a Capoeira group, do not miss this opportunity and witness as the family continues to expand and welcome more and more people who choose to live the colourful culture that is Capoeira!