Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oops, I didn’t know that was fady:

Madagascar is a mysterious place. The history is long, and punctuated by new people coming and going. Explorers from Indonesia and the mainland, pirates from India and Southeast Asia. It was colonized by the English and the French. The Chinese have come and left their mark.
One of the results of this is a complex system of regionalized ‘fady’ or taboo. People point with their first knuckles to avoid pointing at a tomb. In Betsimisaraka (my home region) it is fady to eat goat. Sometimes sleeping facing a certain direction is fady, or touching a person’s head. Every once in a while, someone tells me I can’t do something, or I should have done something. It is rude to question fady, so the reasons remain a mystery, even to those who follow all of the fady.
If you enter some houses stepping with your left foot instead of your right, you bring bad luck on yourself and the entire household. Oops...sorry.

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