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Nosy Varika, the island of the Makis, which the river Sakaleona, “a jealous rival of the ocean, surrounds its immense arms” (Pierre Plato, 1958). The island of the Makis without makis (or almost), the ax and the fire having destroyed the work of the nature and the forest. And “during the years of scarcity, when the rice silos are empty and the inhabitants are obliged to consume,
Welding, bitter roots, aquatic plants, a stew of maki tries more than one Betsimisaraka … »
The island of Nosy Varika, although inhabited predominantly by Betsimisaraka, is strongly marked by the passage “of Hova, Antemoro and Antambahoaka claiming” of Arab origin “. According to the tradition preserved in the region of Lower Sakaleona, Rahova accompanied by his sister Riala would have settled in Ambohibe a long time ago, before going up to Fanivelona very fertile. It is then the stronghold of the powerful clan of Ranomena that does not appreciate at all this installation of foreigners on the land of the ancestors. Especially since one of the children of Rahova, under the charm of the wife of a Ranomena, removes the beautiful in the nose of her husband. A war ensues, at several episodes, but the migrants triumph over their opponents.
Yet, it all ends well. Thanks to the benevolent arbitration of the Antambahoaka of Mananjary called to the rescue, Rahova and Ranomena seal, in the blood of a red bull, a solemn peace, mutually pledging not to make any claim under pain of dying, if One or the other commits a larceny to his neighbor. “The oath still holds, and it is not uncommon to see someone, Ranomena calling himself, coming with impunity to pick up chickens on the way to Fanivelona” (Salomon Rahatoka, 1958).
The Ranomena have the wisdom to leave their ancestral land and settle far on the shores of Lake Morongary near Mananjary. The Rahova, definitely masters of the place, prosper giving their lineage the name of Zafindrahova, “from which they derive some pride” (Pierre Plato). But the oldest inhabitants of the island are certainly the Betsimisaraka and they remained fiercely faithful to the customs and customs of their ethnic group. Some are fishermen, most prefer the slopes of nearby mountains. Surrounded by coffee trees and unlike the Zafindrahova, they cultivate rice on tavy, “a practice forbidden by law, but as the ancestors did before them and successfully …”!
It must be said, in their defense, that the “fady” are numerous, varied and sometimes unexpected, and they dread to transgress them. It is enough that a member of the clan has drowned or bogged down in immemorial times, in marshland, and this one becomes taboo. The same prohibition strikes the swamps where the fetuses are buried. The “fady”, ancestral or decreed by the ombiasy, follow the Betsimisaraka of the island in all the acts of its life. Thus, with regard to food, “fady” varies according to the clans, but in any case, no one can consume goat meat. Other recommendation: do not eat chicken or any birds during the day. Otherwise refrain from going to the field. Other dishes often listed on the “fady” list: the “green pigeon”, the crab, the hedgehog, the pork, the eel, the frog, the guinea fowl. However, in many groups, if you can not get into pork, you have the right to eat it. Provided that it is not in the field. Others are prohibited from breeding geese, growing peanuts or hunting caimans. But “none of the 68 clans listed does not forbid the consumption of maki.”
In clothing, the Andramamba clan can not dress up as a raban “if it is not colored”. It is also fairly unheard of to give birth to twins. The Zafindehibe can fish when they are young, but have to put up their canes once they have grown up, while Andramaresaka, Andriato, Andrabe, Andriamalaza and Volomborona must not use tobacco in any form. As well as a generalized belief that lovers in the forest have harmful consequences. Even in the construction of his hut, the Betsimisaraka of Nosy Varika is obliged to observe prescriptions, rules and other obligations, “of which he does not know the origin but that scrupulously respects