The history of Maculelê is about a brave young boy living in an African village, who was in possession of great wisdom and knowledge and did not believe in war.
The warrior chief constantly taunted him and repeatedly accused him of cowardice and threatened to ban him from the village.
Then, one day Maculelê in response to the taunting person got drunk, and remained as the only male in the village, while the other men went to war. The village was suddenly attacked by an enemy tribe. There was no time to call for help or even run. Maculelê in his drunkenness armed himself with the nearest weapon he could lay his hands on - two wooden staffs, with which he intended to defend himself and the village against more than fifty men armed with metal knives.
Maculelê engaged the enemy in a single-handed and one sided battle. Maculelê was mortally wounded and to an extent had been killed. As the enemy finally thrust their knives into him, Maculelê's spirit prepared to depart from his physical body. As the dying Maculelê ebbed out of physical consciousness and into spiritual consciousness, he entered the doorway between two worlds. OGUM, the god of war, saw him on the door step, physically defeated, and in admiration of Maculelê's bravery took pity on him. Before Maculelê could slip into the adjoining level, he opened his inner eyes and saw Ogum. At that moment there was a calling back to the physical world. Slowly Maculelê opened his inner eyes to see Ogum reaching out for him - handing him over a pair of iron knives as a symbol of Ogum's presence and protection.
Maculelê reached out and armed himself with the symbols of the god of war, the god of Iron. Physically the two knives appeared out of thin air into the hands of Maculelê. He seemed to have come back to life and in a kind of tranced dance Maculelê took on his enemies once again - one by one, until he had defeated everyone saving his village and his people from certain slaughter.
Today Maculelê's dance is legend and is a constant activity, especially in 'Largo da Bahia' at parties, as it has been preserved by groups or followers of Santo Amaro da Purificacao (purification of Saint Amaro) from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, who use it in purification rituals.
Maculelê's dance is widespread throughout in Brazil and has been adapted as part of Capoeira. By itself it tells the story of the bravery of a young man and of all young men living within the natural confines of the Amazon forest.