Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dig my bones....

I was about to write a post enthusiastically titled "can one love too much ?" as I am in one these moods since these past days, a silly amorous mood which strikes me violently (oh..the object of my passion is the same old guy you can see on my right bar. Monchéri has been away for a month and now he's back I'm all stupid and besotted and hilarious all the time). Instead of a sugary post, here is a very happy post about love and death. As you know, my roots are in a faraway island called Madagascar, l'île rouge...the red island. My younger sister went there last summer in august with her boyfriend and little baby girl to visit my parents near Antananarivo. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford to join them and I was waiting impatiently to receive some photos of the family and of a big event called Famadihana. My uncle died two years ago and according to the Malagasy tradition, his bones had been exhumed, washed and wrapped into a long piece of white handwoven silk. Musicians are hired for the ceremony. Members of the family tell stories to the dead body or ask him some advices. I attended a few famadihanas, during my adolescence and have cherished memories of happy smiling faces, the dancing and the singing, food being prepared all day for the family, the neighbors, people of the village and also in honor of the dead. Death is extremely important in Madagascar. The after life must be prepared. We sometimes joke about it with my parents...not in a morbid way I reassure you. There is actually much love involved in all this...




pics by my sister last august

22 comments:

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) said...

Wow, how interesting and quite possibly a healthy attitude to death, though quite a different.

Quite apt that you write of Madagascar - came to tell you to check out Karen's Border Town Notes for a wonderful pic of Baobab trees. Enjoy.

Simonetta said...

Lala, que linda tradição!
não conhecia e amei!
a expressão das mulheres muito linda também.

willow said...

The Famadihana is a fascinating tradition, Lala. I love the smiles, dancing and celebration envolved.

Glad to hear your Moncheri is back. WT was gone for two weeks and it seemed like an eternity!

Claire said...

I am so glad that you have shared this. It helps me to have context before I depart in two weeks time. I will be landing at Tana airport. I will think of you as I take in and absorb every bit of the culture that I am exposed to. I can't wait to tell you of my experiences when I return.

And I am so happy that you are giddy with love...

Happy weekend : )

C

Christina said...

Lala, I have tears of joy streaming down my face! This is so beautiful!

These faces of the people are gorgeous! Lala, is it okay if I email you??

I adore this post with all of my heart.

Linda Sue said...

Beautiful ceremony honoring the gone from this place...I love that Death is just a part of the whole and would be pleased if those who cared for me in this life carried me on to the next with such love. Wonderful post!

l'air du temps said...

girl, what a beautiful post. thank you for sharing this with us. i have often wondered, researched and tried to understand the celebration of 'the day of the dead' connected to halloween. i just had a sense that there is a valuable and beneficial richness there that i felt i wanted to connect with. you have helped me to see the beauty and honor of the celebrations of those we love who have passed on...

i used to say to my mom 'i smell dada in my room.' dada was my grandfather and he had his own smell as we all do. sometimes after he had passed on once in a while his scent would capture me. when i said this to my mom, she would look at me and say 'yes?' as if to say 'tell me more...'

bon-weekend and enjoy your Chèri. it must be wonderful to have him back... lose yourself in him these days as i am sure he is all too happy for it with open arms...

bisous!

kendalee said...

I think embracing death and celebrating the life that has passed shows such a healthy attitude. Our love for someone doesn't end when their life ends, does it? And we have to find ways to deal with that. It's one of the simultaneously marvellous and tragic things about being human. Thanks for sharing this with us Lala and enjoy the giddiness of love! :)

Vanessa said...

I really find this practice fascinating - and I can't agree more that it suits this theme that's playing in your mind, of one loving too much. :-) Death is so very much a part of life and this tradition embraces that wholeheartedly.

Anairam said...

What an amazing ritual! Quite beautiful. In my way, although it is not part of my culture, I also celebrate the Day of the Dead and prepare a small offrenda with pictures of my parents (they are both deceased), objects that belonged to them, food & drink that they liked, and flowers and candles. Thanks for sharing this with us.

A Cuban In London said...

An interesting and insightful post, most enjoyed by yours truly.

Greetings from London.

Jojo said...

What an interesting post. Sometimes I am bothered by some of our traditions when a loved one dies. A funeral is normally held within 2 days and during the service we are encouraged to "celebrate" when one really wants to cry and mourn. It seems to me that the tradition you are sharing provides for both mourning and celebration. Thank you for sharing this.

corine said...

This is such a human, positive way to say,'grief ends here and life goes on'. Amazing images.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Wow...just look at the smiling happy faces! Sounds similar in sentiment to the day of the dead ceremonies in Mexico. Very cool!!

Gillian said...

Fascinating! What an amazing thing. Who gets the bones? I am so intrigued by this. You must post more on this!!! Maybe you'll get to Madagascar soon, and when you do, you know we'll be needing photos!
xoxo

tangobaby said...

Thank you for sharing this story and tradition. I just went to the Dia de los Muertes parade last night here, and it's refreshing to see such positive and different ways of dealing with the biggest transition that all of us will face someday.

I'm glad your boy is back! I know how you feel...mine is still astray but perhaps will return soon.

xoxo

Mélanie said...

Merci de partager tes sentiments avec nous ! mais surtout de nous apprendre un peu de ta culture ! C'est une très jolie façon de vivre la mort

Lavinia said...

Very interesting. Something similar happens in Greece...

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