February 24, 2009



                        The legphoto31end is based on a story in which King Andriandahifotsy foretold the founding of two kingdoms, the Sakalava and the Antakarana by studying astrology. The King offered a choice to his sons between gold and silver the choice would predict the future of the two branches of his family. The descendants of royal blood decided in favour of gold (Volamephoto41na) and the King predicted the founding of a great but short-lived kingdom, the Sakalava Kingdom. The non royal descendants chose silver (Volafotsy) and it was foretold that they would found a much smaller but longer lasting kingdom, the Antakarna.




July 25, 2008

photo2Reincarnation is another important aspect of Antakarana beliefs. The best known example of this belief is described in a story. The present day lake, Antanavo was formerly the site of a village where the villagers where renowned for their unfriendly welcome to passing strangers.

One particularly hot dry day they refused to give a drink to a stranger in need. This stronger was of the Zafitsimahito clan, a native of south east Madagascar However, on woman did take pity on the stranger and gave him some water in return for this unexpected gesture the stranger advised the woman to quickly leave the village with all her family because although water was then in short supply, he warned that it would soon arrive in abundance. A short time later the whole village was engulfed by a terrible flood and all the-inhabitants killed except for the woman and her family.

 These villagers have been reincarnated as crocphoto51odiles and it is these crocodiles that make the lake famous to day. A certain rite is regularly performed to appease to honor and to thank the invisible powers of the sacred lake and zebus are sacrificed and fed to the crocodiles.


July 25, 2008

photo2_2The Antakarana show their respect for the dead through the Tsakafara ceremony. When a person a vow he/she must take offerings, in the form of honey, coins, alcohol etc, to places where their ancestors repose. This rite is particularly important for the descendants of Arabian migrants who settled in the north and north east of Madagascar.


July 25, 2008

photo2_4The Tsangantsainy is the name of the royal post or monument which is raised to symbolize the marriage of the Zafimbolafotsy dynasty with the Antakarana soil.

Two trunks of the Hazoambo tree (Homalium axillare) are joined together to make the Antakarana king’s flagpole. The pole Symbolises masculinity, whereas the soil represents fertility, the mother earth. Should the pole rot or decay with time it is replaced by a new one.

This ritual symbolIses the continuity of the dynasty and has been practiced since the time of King Tsimihoro 1 ( 1822-1882) to the present day.photo6

The Tsangantsainy ceremony takes place once every five years of Ambatoharanana, the capital of the Antakarana kingdom, close to the Royal residente.


July 25, 2008

photo2_1The Antakarana have distinctive shared beliefs that are expressed through a number of different customs and rituals. They have strong bonds with their natural surroundings. There are ceremonies and prayers associated with waterholes crater lakes, waterfalls, rivers, mountains, trees and other plants, etc.

There are three main rites performed by the Antakarana, the Tsangantsainy, the Tsakafara, and the Fitsanganan’ny maty.


July 25, 2008

photo2_3The Antakarana kingdom was founded at the end of the seventeenth century by Andriatsirotso, a Zafimbolafotsy. The kingdom stretches from Cap d’Ambre at its northern most tips, to its southern boundary at the Sambirano River.

There are two different stories which describe the founding of the kingdom, one based on historical fact, the other based on legend.

The historical version begins in the middle of the 17th century, when King Andriandahifotsy began a Sakalava (an ethnic group) expansion in western Madagascar. On his death, succession to the throne was complicated by the fact that he was a polygamist. Claimants to the thronphoto76e had to be children of the first marriage to a wife of royal blood; these were known as Zafimbolamena (literally grandchildren of gold). Children of non royal wives were known as the Zafimbolafotsy (literally grandchildren of silver). It was these latter, excluded from the succession, which pushed north to eventually found the Antakarana kingdom.