CULTURE AND TRADITION OF THE WEST
FITAMPOHA or RELICS’BATH
The Fitampoha is a traditional ceremony of the Sakalava, in the Menabe region, in Belo/Tsiribihina, the word “Fitampoha” means royal relics’bath.
The relics are kept in a loundge called “ZOMBA”, found in the center of Belo/Tsiribihina , a village located at 100km North of Morondava,
the ceremony starts on one Friday when the Zomba is opened, the relics bath starts the next morning in an islet called “Ampasy”, at around 5 km
from Belo/Tsiribihina, which car only be reached.
During the Fitampoha, the died reveal their presence through the possession of a woman, through whom they communicate a message to the living.
On the eve of the relics bath, people are free to participate to a collective sexual act in the Tranobe. This act symbolises chaos and the beginning of
the earth before the arrival of the “Zanahary” where got chose to reign and end the chaos.
The relics bath will take place on the next morning with the presence of the kings, who are supposed to bring order, peace, and prosperity to the new world.
Those who take part to the ceremony of relics’bath are people around the prince, including the woman with the spirit, those who bring the relics,
3 women in charge of the bath. The ceremony occurs as follow, the prince set down is a canoe, then the people bringing the relics come in front with the
3 women, they come to deep water and wash the relics. When the bath is finished, they dry up the relics, and anoint them with zebus’fat, then all people
ask for the ancestors’ blessings. The next day, they bring the relics to Belo/Tsiribihina, and put them back in the Zomba, for the 5 other years.
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