L. KARTASHOVA, Candidate of Philological Sciences, full member of the Malagasy Academy
"A person is alive as long as they are remembered," Malagasy people say
Different peoples of the world have different attitudes to death and special rituals associated with it. Therefore, it is impossible to approach the traditions of other cultures with your own standards, and even more so to be ernichat, as some people do.
OBJECT OF VENERATION
Having worked in Madagascar for many years, I certainly knew about famadihana. Many things surprised me. I wanted to see everything with my own eyes and understand it. The opportunity came in 1979, when I was on an internship with students of the ISAA at Moscow State University at the University of Madagascar (now the University of Antananarivo).
Famadihana is one of the rituals of the ancestral cult. In ancient times, the object of religious worship* was those of the Malagasy ancestors who, during their lifetime, occupied a significant position in society. Lifetime submission to the power of the leaders passed into their posthumous deification. Over time, the cult of deified rulers gradually fades away. The object of veneration is increasingly becoming the progenitors of the family, clan. Famadihana is a reflection of the huge role played in the public consciousness by the ties of blood kinship, the respect that older people enjoy. It is also harmoniously intertwined with the ideas of the Malagasy people about procreation.
Famadihana is an important rite that is treated responsibly. It was considered a disgrace if a Malagasy was not buried in the ancestral tomb. If someone dies in a foreign land, it is the duty of loved ones to transport their ashes to their homeland 1. Malagasy people say "Velona iray trano, maty iray fasana", which means: "The living live in the same house, the dead in the same crypt."
According to the ideas of the ancients, the deceased continued to remain members of the family and influenced the lives of their descend ... Read more