Exhumation in the tradition of the Betsileo tribe in Madagascar in relation to the funerary practices of Southeast Asia


The traditional beliefs of the inhabitants of Madagascar have strong monotheistic elements, focused on life after death and interaction with the god Zanahary and the ancestors. The Betsileo tribe practices a ritual called “famadihana” or “Ati-damba,” which involves exhuming and scrolling or re-wrapping of corpses. Through invocations and blood sacrifices of the zebu, the living seek prosperity while incorporating the deceased into the status of Ancestors. These funerary customs bear similarities to those of China, Southeast Asian fringe cultures, and the Ibaloi tribe of the Philippines. These similarities may have to do with migration waves to Madagascar and the passing down of traditions from generation to generation.


exhumation; famandihana; scrolling corpses; Ati-damba; Betsileo; Madagascar; Ibaloi; Toradża; Berawan

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Published : 2022-09-07

NiesytoJ. (2022). Exhumation in the tradition of the Betsileo tribe in Madagascar in relation to the funerary practices of Southeast Asia. Studia Etnologiczne I Antropologiczne, 22(2), 1-27. https://doi.org/10.31261/SEIA.2022.22.02.08

Józef Niesyto 
brak  Poland

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