The Dogon People of Bandiagara, Mali : the Dogon Fish Festival
In the sacred pond called Antogo, in the heart of Dogon country in the Republic of Mali, this sacred ritual, sometimes called a festival of the Dogon people is held only once a year, generally in mid-March. After first removing the dangerous crocodiles, thousands of Dogon men enter the water all at once to catch fish. The baskets they use to catch them have holes in both ends : they plunge the baskets into the water to trap the fish and then stick there arm through the narrower hole in the top to catch these catfish by hand for 30 minutes time. Only men! Women do not participate, in fact women are not allowed to approach the sacred pond during this festival / ritual. It is said that it is auspicious for those who succeed in catching fish: Success portends a good harvest this year, and even the possibility of marriage, family members who may be ill will be healed, etc ... For the men who do not succeed in catching anything they will be considered to be unlucky for the next year. They won’t be able to marry, and will not have a good harvest, etc. all they can do is hope to have better luck a year later ! Many Dogon people who live abroad will return home to participate in this event.
Please put the mouse on the image and turn up the volume : it is muted by default. Also, please forgive us the quality of the image : as field producer I was busy protecting our main camera in the general chaos, and holding in one hand a camera with a lens badly damaged by the sand : I could not look at the viewfinder during the action, but I think the video still gives a very good idea of the atmoshere.