Bara Burial Traditions

The Bara tribe of Madagascar lives in the southern part of Madagascar around Ihosy and Isalo National Park. They are traditionally zebu (cow) herders and the majority of the people in this region still rely on cattle as their source of income.

Isalo National Park is still used by the Bara people for burials. When someone from the tribe dies they are buried in the rock crevices near the ground. The grave is covered with a mound of rocks and the burial takes place at sunset so that the person can go to sleep with everyone else. After the burial the family of the deceased throws a large party with copious amounts of alcohol to honor the dead.

After 5-7 years the bones are removed from the grave at sunrise and washed in a scared river. The bones are then rewrapped and reburied. This time in a crevice high above the ground so the person cannot return to the tribe. To accomplish this the men of the family drink before scaling the cliff face so they won’t be afraid.

A Bara permanent burial site

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