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The forest of Manjakatompo, in the district of Ambatolampy, formerly contains a “mystery”. In fact, it is a rite of sacrifice that has Ambohimirandrana, the mountain-braided.
The inhabitants of the neighborhood are, moreover, deeply imbued with superstitions: “Do not go through such a marsh, you can have the neck twisted. “Do not spit here, you will become dumb.” “Do not show your hand this tomb, you will lose your fingers.”
Indeed, the channels of communication are so difficult that only, sorcerers and diviners are the kings and masters of the places. These beliefs persist, all the more deeply as the country is the kingdom of the Vazimba, “dwarfs” of African descent who, according to legend, would have disappeared as if by magic and transformed themselves into evil inhabitants of solitary springs and places .
To appease these invisible anger or to ask for blessings, many
People come to sacrifice bloody sacrifices at the top of Ambohimirandrana, especially in the month of August.
According to Fulgence Eutrope Ramilijaona, of the Museum of Art and Archeology in 1971, Lac Froid, a small secret path leads to the foot of a waterfall in a forest of trees and shrubs interwoven with lianas. The water falls into icy sheaves, but for those who wish to participate in the sacrifice, they must abide by the usual ritual of ablution to purify themselves of their sins.
Bringing something pig-based (meat, fat, cold cuts, food) is a deadly sacrilege, for then the gods are angry and punish the profaner. From the waterfall, one must also walk barefoot, shoes are not allowed in the “archisacre” enclosure. Finally, silence is necessary and “pay attention to the false step if you do not want to be commented severely and in a fanciful way sometimes”.
At the top of the mountain there is a large clearing which only the worshipers know. Here and there, old tree trunks with holes hide various presents: sweets, honey, heads and paws of poultry, coins …
Cattle skulls with horns are hung everywhere. “In the middle, in the shade of a great fig tree, the royal tomb, that of Rafohy, the queen of the Vazimba, imposes respect by its unusual aspect. It is covered with dried blood and the bones of animals and motley presents. “
In front of the tomb stands a stone table. All around, people, men, women, children, young and old, “tired and tired of a long journey, wait silently, seized with a mysterious fear.”
An old man, wrapped in his great lamba white festival, hides a cock under his left arm. A family keeps a white lamb retained by a red cord. A red-headed ox, spotted with white on the forehead, carelessly ruminates at the foot of a tree. Large cutlasses and white basins gleam in the sun. Players of flutes and drums are exercising in mute.
Early in the afternoon, “a great frizzy-haired individual, with his beard bushy, a long cork to the ground, the priest no doubt, cowers the assembly with a circular glance. Calm and mysterious, he places himself before the door of the tomb, bends almost as if cut in two, crosses his arms on his chest, raises his hands to the sky, then brings them back on his face while uttering incomprehensible oracles and finally , Turns to the assistance “.
At this moment, the silence is abruptly broken and a “cacophony of tamtam, cries, prayers, strange dances and prostrations” accompanies the rhythm of the songs. Ten robust men immobilize the ox, and the priest and his aides proceed to the sacrifice, bleeding him first with a cutlass before giving him the last blow of grace. The priest returns before the entrance of the tomb, takes a handful of soil, mixes it with the blood of the ox, makes a short bow and sprinkles the faithful with a fig tree branch.
Meanwhile, the followers “prostrate themselves on the ground, in a confused murmur and convulsive gestures.”
Next comes the time of offering the lamb, cocks and other appropriate presents. The meal in common is prepared with the last words of preaching, reproach or exhortation, of a “hysterical dance” performed by a woman, supported by the acclamations chanted by the audience.