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Traditions and legends

Taboos and traditions: The Fady in Madagascar

Famadihana

As a traveller in Madagascar, you will hear about fadys sooner or later. Fady is the Malagasy word for taboo and probably derives from the Indonesian “pady”. But taboo is not the only meaning of this word, it is also used to call something sacred. Fadys are rules that concern situations as well as people, animals, locations or a certain …

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Where the name Vazaha for white people comes from

Once upon a time, long ago, a young king and his wife lived on the west coast of Madagascar, in Menabe. This king loved to speak before his people and to give Kabarys (speeches). One day, during one of his Kabarys, a baby started crying. When it wouldn’t stop and the mother couldn’t calm the baby, the king got angry. …

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Famadihana – Turning the deads

Famadihana

That Madagascar is always good for a surprise was already clear to me on my first trip in 1995. But this trip should be a little different. With our guests we were on our way to the south of Madagascar, and at our stopover in Antsirabe, 170 kilometres from the capital, we settled down in a cosy hotel. Actually we …

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The animal that brings death

Aye-Aye

No other animal in Madagascar has as many myths and fairy tales as the Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). Throughout the northern half of Madagascar it is fady, which means taboo. Unfortunately, this fady does not mean that the animals are not touched by Madagascans, as with chameleons, for example. Instead, many inhabitants of Madagascar believe that the encounter with an aye-aye …

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Why the largest lemur in the world is called Babakoto

Once upon a time in a small village in Madagascar, a Bezanozano man (a tribe living in the east of the country) prepared a small basket. He asked his little son Koto to come with him and together they wandered deep into the jungle to find honey. After a few hours they found a bee hive on a high rosewood …

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Lake Tritriva

Lake Tritriva is an emerald green lake, located about 15 km from Antsirabe in Madagascar’s central highlands. The next town is Belazao, which is easy to reach via RN34 by 4×4. The lake is of volcanic origin, approximately 160 m deep and part of the eponymic mountain Vakinankaratra region. People of lake Tritriva tell the legend of Rabeniomby and Ravolahanta, …

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The empire of the Vazimba

Have you ever been to a vast place where you could not walk normally? This is a story about a strange, magical and beautiful place. It was somewhen before the 16th century, when some people took a boat and traveled on the Mozambique channel. After a few days, they arrived on a highland with an amazing large beach. They called …

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The crocodiles’ lake

The Lake of Crocodiles is located in northern Madagascar between the cities of Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) and Ambilobe. The next town west of the lake is called Anivorana North, is accessible via the RN6 and belongs to the Antsiranana region. The lake itself is actually called Antagnavo, is of volcanic origin and is known for its countless crocodiles (Crocodilus niloticus …

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