There are 18 Malagasy tribes and each have their own set of beliefs, superstitions, “fady”, and rules which guide them in their daily life. They could be similar for different tribes and regions, but each tribe also has its own customs and traditions. The following is a list of some of these beliefs, superstitions, habits, and traditions. There must have been a reason or an explanation to these, and only those who invented them know why they created such things, so we are just listing them. We do not try to explain or find the reasons behind them. Also, we are listing them as a generality, and we do not specify from what region and for what tribes they are. The list is far from exhaustive.
Do not sing while eating or your teeth will grow long.
Do not kick the wall or your grandmother will die.
Do not point a tomb with your index finger. If you have to point at a tomb, fold your finger.
Do not stay in front, or in line, of a tomb’s door when it is open (if the tomb is not your family’s).
Do not make a flute-like sound out of a rice straw.
Do not wear an empty basket over your head.
If you sit in a basket and you sneeze, you will be stuck in the basket. (it will require meat that can fill the basket to get you out).
Do not set your bed with its head facing West (you will kick the sun when it rises in the morning). The bed must face North or East.
Do not open a tomb before noon.
Do not open a tomb before sunset.
Do not plant “telomiova” (it is a plant that has 3 flowers of different colors) or “mandresilahy” near your house (it may kill the man of the house or cause divorce). Plant it in the fields.
Do not use red umbrella (It attracts lightning)
Do not wear red clothes face to a bull (it will charge at you)
Do not pass eggs directly to one another. (place them on the table and the other person will pick them from there).
Do not bring live pork into this certain village
Do not eat onions in this village
Do not bring pork on to this mountain
Merina or ambaniandro cannot swim in certain rivers
Do not kick a dog (your knee will swell)
If you hit a dog with your car, it’s a bad sign (an accident, a flat tire, a mechanical problem may occur). Obviously, this one is not from the ancient Malagasy.
Do not bury on Thursdays (Thursday is a day of repetition)
When it’s sunny but the rain is falling, a sorcerer has died
It is forbidden to swim in this lake (you will die there)
Giving birth to twins is bad luck
Our advice is simple, when you travel and the local community tells you the dos and don’ts, just follow. There is nothing to lose in respecting people’s traditions and beliefs.