Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tribes: Tsimihety

Madagascar is a country which as 18 different tribes. Among these
tribes Tsimihety is one that I will discuss. According to me and my
research, Tsimihety culture is different than the other tribes. First
I will talk about exhumation and second I will talk about how people
get a fiancé in this culture. And finally, I will talk about their
music and the meaning of Valise Mena.

When a Tsimihety person dies and they are not in their hometown they
can be buried there. Most of the time, this is due to lack of money.
After three months, they do an exhumation and bring the corpse to the
place where they are from. During exhumation, they take the corpse
from a tomb and put it in a new small coffin. They burn the old
empty coffin. They bring the corpse and walk it around town.
Everybody is allowed to drink alcohol and nobody can cry.

About fiancé's. A man goes to a girls place with his elders like his
grandfather, mother and father, uncle, etc. The girl should always
accept it if the deal is OK. For them, a good day for taking a girl
to the man's place is Monday. Thursday is taboo. When the men head
back home with the girl she will bring with her all of her things.
When they get home, during the meal, she eats with her mother and
father in law for three days only and she cannot go to the man's place
unless it is night. After three days, she starts cooking at her man's

Tsimihety music is called Malesa. They way of dancing is simple, man
stands behind a woman. When the music starts they move their left
feet together first and then follow with their right and put their
hands up. On top of that, Tsimihety, in one way, are called, "Valise
mena" which means red suitcase. This name is for women. They care
called valise mena when they bring all of their things from their home
with them. For example, when two lovers are apart the woman brings
everything with her such as her cows, cars, kitchen stuff and even her
mans clothes. In general, they do it when their relationship does not
last for a year.

To conclude, among other tribes, Tsimihety is one tribe which
practices exhumation. They also have their own marriage customs and
traditional music. All of these are part of their culture. Do
Malagasy tribes have anything in common?


soavina said...

Please, continue to write about Madagascar, it is a pleasure to find information about our beloved country. Courage!!!!!

Philip San Juan said...

Thank you guys, your website has lots of really good information! I'm coming to Madagascar this April and I might go and search for some of the people you've described here! Gabriel