Dancing with the Dead

Dancing with the Dead

Lost in the plateaus of Madagascar, the familiar ritual of Famadihana.

The local conception of life consists in the belief that, with the age, the human body passes from a status of full energies (young people-active) to a gradual loss of it (old people-slow).

What western mentality calls death, for Malagasy is a different stage of life: passed away people have less energies in the body so they remain still, but they are still living! As the rest of the family they need food, drink and... to dance!

 

During the ritual of Famadihana the extended family walk to the tomb and celebrates itself: with the constant presence of traditional music, they meet their "dead" people, tell them the last news about the family, add to their body a new lamba (see pictures) and they pray for them.

 

 

 

As part of the research team, I conducted interviews to local people and managed the recording sessions of the ethnographic documentary "Madagascar, une Belle Vie, une Belle Mort". Partner IRFOSS, Institute for Social Research and Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna.

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