Turning the Bones Part II: Endangered Customs

This is Part II of our two-part look at Famadihana. Read Part I here While forces have been at work for some time trying to kill the lively and joyous practice of Famadihana, they have done little to dampen the practice in the highlands; what may prove the death nail, however, is the pneumonic plague.

Turning the Bones Part I: Dance with the Perfumed Dead

Places have souls; you experience them through their scents. What does Madagascar’s soul smell like? Mango and lemon chutney, recently plucked limes and papaya, fresh green coffee pods, and newly ground cocoa powder. It’s in homemade cinnamon-infused rum mixed with coconut milk (a Punch Coco), carved Rosewood figures rubbed with nutty Baobab oil, wild ylang-ylang…

Mummy Powder Incense (Egypt Part II)

To the modern Westerner, incense is the friend of the pothead teenager and long-time companion of the hippy.  Incense is perhaps the oldest form of human scent manufacturing, however.

Scented Death Customs?

So to inaugurate things on the blog, I’d like to take a moment to go through the different categories and what they will be about. Scented Death Customs is where I will profile different burial customs along with how and why scent altering products are used. We will talk about the belief systems behind these customs as well…