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The Malagasy’s worship ancestors very thorough. So it is a task that is imposed on all, without distinction of rank or wealth, except in some areas and in some clans to celebrate the dead buried for some time, with the greatest possible pomp, late the dry season.
Formerly, the Famadihana, “turning ceremony of the dead and often change the tomb” (Marie-Robert Rason) lasts several days, at least three. It is also an opportunity for different groups of Mpilalao (troops Hira gasy) compete control before connoisseurs. For them it is a real contest on which their reputation is forged. The night before, the deceased kin go to the tomb. Then, turning to the four cardinal points, the oldest familiar spirit, warns that the next day they will be transported in a better burial.
On that day, early, the guests arrive dressed in their best clothes. The procession is formed. First come the slaves singing loudly, then Mpilalao whose drumbeats reverberate “in the drowned valleys of mist.” Then come the parents carried on the backs of slaves. “Some of them proudly assume, and dancing, the lambamena (shrouds) that should wrap the remains. “Finally, guests filanjana close the procession waving slowly to reach the tomb when, towards the east, the sky begins to glow, because the tomb should be opened with the first rays of the sun.
A long moment of silence was observed, cut by sobs and tears. Everyone talks about his ancestors. Parents enter the tomb, wrapped the remains lapel new mats and white Lamba, and carry them out at arms, where they are greeted by
clamor. The oldest, standing on top of the grave, cries when you come out dead, “Who goes there? “Inside, a voice responds with the name of the deceased or the deceased. While singing and music erupt while we walk the remains, still at the end of the arm above the heads up a tent in which they have to spend the night and where, according to a specific ritual, coating them new and rich lambamena. The ceremony begins for all the inhabitants of the grave.
“Curious detail: it is prohibited to those who have touched the bodies of washing hands before eating and having gorged rum. “Many cattle were slaughtered the day before or early in the morning to be served” with enormous meals “that will last all day and all night, watered whole demijohns of rum which one makes a point to empty. The Mpilalao finally enter the fray, “carefully stuffed and gray.” Different troops are onslaught of brilliance. “The drum bearings, hands beats, the screams of the audience that fuel the rivalry between the different groups and the screams of children fighting in the dust, give a dazzling impression. “
At the dawn of the third day, dead parents recover crying, helped a little by this drunk alcohol the night. Then transports the remains swathed in their new shrouds to their new (or old) last home, which should not, however, gain directly. The mpanandro (soothsayer) consulted to determine the date of Famadihana, time of opening and closing the grave …, it has established a rather circuitous route. And it is true that we make many detours, “which in the minds of the assistants will have the effect to delay as long as possible, the hour of death.” All this, always to the sound of loud music Mpilalao.
Arrivals to the spoils were again paraded at arms, three or seven times around the tomb, accompanied by joyful shouts. Finally, they are placed inside and sealed the stone entrance. new mats and white Lamba who wrapped the remains exiting the tomb we argue. Whoever will seize will be fortunate all his life; widower, the man will soon have a companion who will make his happiness; barren woman will soon be a mother; poor, you will become rich without delay … And the music and dancing furiously resume before a speaker do praise the dead and boasts the brilliant actions which have illustrated their lives. Finally, assistance separates.