Southern Madagascar: a glimpse of the traditions of local tribes
During the visit of the region of Bara and Antandroy, you will have the opportunity to experience moments of rejoicing specific to the region. The zebu holds a prominent place in the life of these castes. According to their customs, a young man cannot claim marriage until he has stolen an ox.
At his death, a dignitary must be the subject of long weeks of funeral vigils which all members of his tribe must attend. Sessions of tears and traditional dances will follow one another. If the deceased is old enough, his herd of zebus must be slaughtered to honor him and to feed the entire community. There must be none left until he is buried. The skulls of the animals will be carefully washed and preserved in order to adorn the tomb of the deceased.
In southern Madagascar, the cult of the dead holds a very large place in social life. The Bara tombs are nestled in well-maintained caves in the Isalo massifs . Periodically, the bones of a dead person are carefully washed according to an ancestral rite. Then they are reburied in the same cave, but at a higher place.
Among the Malagasy, each member of the male sex must be circumcised. In the highlands, it is customary to remove the boy’s foreskin during cool periods and when he is still young. In the South, circumcision is performed collectively. It is commonly called Sambatra . This traditional ceremony is held every 7 years and all members of the tribe scattered throughout the Big Island are required to attend. The festivities last for several days.
The Aloalo is a set of carved wooden pieces (or posts) surmounting tombs in southern Madagascar. These are totems that represent the daily life of a deceased, reflect a whole scene of life and can even take on the appearance of objects.