From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Famadihana reburial razana ancestor Madagascar.jpg

Famadihana is a funerary tradition of the Malagasy people in Madagascar. Known as the turning of the bones, people bring forth the bodies of their ancestors from the family crypts and rewrap them in fresh cloth, then dance with the corpses around the tomb to live music.[1]

The Famadihana custom appears to be a custom of somewhat recent origin, perhaps only since the seventeenth century in its present form, although it may be an adaptation of premodern double funeral customs from Southeast Asia. The custom is based upon a belief that the spirits of the dead finally join the world of the ancestors after the body's complete decomposition and appropriate ceremonies, which may take many years. In Madagascar this became a regular ritual usually once every seven years, and the custom brings together extended families in celebrations of kinship.

The practice of Famadihana is on the decline due to the expense of silk shrouds and opposition from some Christian organizations. Evangelical Protestants discourage the custom, although the Catholic Church no longer objects because it regards Famadihana as purely cultural rather than religious. As one Malagasy man explained to the BBC, It's important because it's our way of respecting the dead. It is also a chance for the whole family, from across the country, to come together.[2] [3]


  1. ^ "Madagascar's dance with the dead" BBC, 16 August 2008.[1] Accessed 17 August 2008.
  2. ^ "Madagascar's dance with the dead" BBC, 16 August 2008.[2] Accessed 17 August 2008.
  3. ^ http://mywanderlist.com/2013/03/08/worlds-most-bizarre-ceremony-turning-bones-corpses-madagascar-famadihana/