Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Turning ‘Water Babies’ (Zaza Rano) into ‘Real Human Beings’ (Vrai Humains)

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

Rituals of Blessing for the Newly Born in Diégo Suarez, Madagascar

image of Journal of Religion in Africa

This article examines the protective measures and rites of blessing that residents of Diégo Suarez use to keep their babies safe from harm and incorporate them into their respective religious and ethnic communities. I argue that new mothers, and their ‘water babies,’ are ‘acquiring bones’ (establishing themselves within the community) in ways that challenge the widely held perception that Malagasy practices around ancestors are primarily remembrance-oriented. By shifting our gaze away from death, and towards the family-specific ancestral practices around pregnancy and birth, we see that the process of ‘acquiring bones’ is as aspirational as it is retrospective. Moreover, securing one’s worth in society is not exclusively tied to adulthood activities or paternal ancestral lineages; instead it is a flexible process that begins in childhood when parents first instill in their children a sense of what it means to be a member of a particular family or religious community.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religious Studies, Regis University Denver, Colorado


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Bloch 1993"“Zafimaniry Birth and Kinship Theory.”" Social AnthropologyVol 1 1b 119 132 [Crossref]
2. Bloch Maurice 1991 Prey Unto Hunter: The Politics of Religious Experience Cambridge Cambridge University Press [Crossref]
3. Bloch Maurice 1986 From Blessing to Violence: History and Ideology in the Circumcision Ritual of the Merina of Madagascar Cambridge Cambridge University Press [Crossref]
4. Bloch Maurice 1982"“Death, Women and Power”" Death and the Regeneration of Life Bloch Maurice, Parry Jonathan 211 230 Cambridge Cambridge University Press [Crossref]
5. Bloch Maurice 1971 Placing the Dead: Tombs, Ancestral Villages and Kinship Organization in Madagascar New York Seminar Press Ltd.
6. Bourdieu Pierre 1977 Outline of a Theory of Practice New York Cambridge University Press [Crossref]
7. Cole Jennifer 2010 Sex and Salvation: Imaging the Future in Madagascar Chicago University of Chicago Press [Crossref]
8. Cole Jennifer 2001 Forget Colonial? Sacrifice and the Art of Memory in Madagascar Berkeley University of California Press
9. Connerton Paul 1989 How Societies Remember New York Cambridge University Press [Crossref]
10. Davis-Floyd Robbie E. 1992 Birth as an American Rite of Passage Berkeley University of California Press
11. Drewal Margaret 1992 Yoruba Ritual: Performers, Play, and Agency Bloomington Indiana University Press
12. Ellis William 1838 History of Madagascar London Fisher, Son and Company
13. Feeley-Harnik Gillian 2000"“Childbirth and the Affiliation of Children in Northern Madagascar.”" TalohaVol 13 135 172
14. Feeley-Harnik Gillian 1991 A Green Estate: Restoring Independence in Madagascar Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Institute Press
15. Graeber David 1995"“Dancing with Corpses Reconsidered: An Interpretation of Famadihana in Arivonimamo Madagascar.”" American EthnologistVol 22 4 258 278 [Crossref]
16. van Gennep Arnold 1960 (1908) The Rites of Passage Chicago University of Chicago Press
17. Hunt Nancy Rose 1999 A Colonial Lexicon of Birth Ritual, Medicalization, and Mobility in the Congo Durham and London Duke University Press [Crossref]
18. Huntington Richard 1988 Gender and Social Structure in Madagascar Bloomington Indiana University Press
19. Jay Nancy Throughout Your Generations and Forever: Sacrifice, Religion and Paternity Chicago University of Chicago Press
20. Jaovelo-Dzao Robert 1996 Mythes, Rites et Transes à Madagascar: Angano, Joro et Tromba, Sakalava Analamahitsy Éd. Ambozontany
21. Jennings Theodore W. Jr. 1982"“On Ritual Knowledge.”" Journal of ReligionVol 62 2 111 127 [Crossref]
22. Lambek Michael 2003 The Weight of the Past: Living with History in Mahajanga, Madagascar New York Palgrave Macmillan
23. Lambek Michael"“The Value of Coins in Sakalava Polity: Money, Death and Historicity in Mahajanga, Madagascar.”" Comparative Studies in Society and HistoryVol 43 4 735 762
24. Myerhoff Barbara 1978 Number Our Days New York, New York Simon & Schuster
25. Ochs Vanessa 2007 Inventing Jewish Ritual Philadelphia Jewish Publication Society
26. Osborn Chase S. 1924 Madagascar: Land of the Man-Eating Tree New York Republic Publishing Company
27. Pearson Michael 2000 The Archaeology of Death and Burial College Station Texas A&M University Press
28. Randrianja Solofo, Ellis Stephen 2009 Madagascar: A Short History Chicago University of Chicago Press
29. Ruud Jorgen 1960 Taboo: A Study of Malagasy Customs and Beliefs London Oslo University Press
30. Sharp Lesley A. 1993 The Possessed and the Dispossessed Berkeley University of California Press
31. Shaw Rosalind 2002 Memories of the Slave Trade: Ritual and the Historical Imagination in Sierra Leone Chicago University of Chicago Press
32. Smith Jonathan Z. 1992 To Take Place: Toward Theory in Ritual Chicago University of Chicago Press
33. Turner Victor 1969 The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-structure Chicago Aldine Publishing Company

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Journal of Religion in Africa — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation