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The ax and the fire destroy the work of nature and the Island of the Makis is depopulated of its lemurs or almost. “During the years of scarcity, when the rice silos are empty and to make the lean, the inhabitants are obliged to consume bitter roots of plants
Aquatic, a stew of maki tries more than one Betsimisaraka … “(Pierre Plato, 1858).
Jekyled by the immense arms of Sakaleona, inhabited mostly by Betsimisaraka, Nosy Varika is strongly marked by the passage “of Hova, Antemoro and Antambahoaka claiming to be of Arab origin.” According to the tradition piously preserved in the region of Lower Sakaleona, accompanied by his sister Riala, Rahova would have settled a long time ago in Ambohibe, before going up to Fanivelona, ​​very fertile zone. But the stronghold of the powerful clan of Ranomena does not appreciate at all this installation of strangers on the land of 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.
However, 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 bull a solemn peace. They mutually undertake not to make any claim under penalty of death, if either of them commits a larceny to his neighbor. “The oath still holds and it is not uncommon to see someone calling Ranomena come 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 To settle far, on the shore of Lake Morongary near Mananjary. The Rahova, who are definitely masters of the place, prosper giving their lineage the name of the Zafindrahova “from which they derive some pride”.
But the oldest inhabitants of the island are undoubtedly the Betsimisaraka and they remain fiercely faithful to the customs and customs of their ethnic group. Some are fishermen,
Most prefer the slopes of the 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, CQFD!
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 for a member of the clan to have been drowned or mired in time immemorial in marshland, and this one becomes taboo. The same prohibition strikes the swamps where the fetuses are buried.
The “fady” decreed by the “ombiasy” follow the Betsimisaraka of the island in all the acts of his life. Among other things, it is forbidden to consume goat meat. Eat any birds during the day, if not abstain before going to the field. Other foods listed on the list of food taboos are “green pigeon”, crab, hedgehog, pork, eel, frog, guinea fowl. But in many groups, if one can not raise pork, one can consume 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 forbids the consumption of maki.”
In clothing, the Andramamba clan can not dress up as a raban “if it is not colored”. It is also hard to see twins as the Antambahoaka. The Zafindehibe can fish when they are young, but must store their canes once grown. A widespread belief that lovers in the forest have negative consequences.
Even in the construction of his hut, at the Betsimisaraka of Nosy Varika are imposed prescriptions, rules and other obligations “of which he does not know the origin but scrupulously respects”