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National traditions of Madagascar. Habits, mentality and the way of living

Madagascar is a multinational country that is home to almost twenty different nationalities. However, Malagasy people are the biggest group on the island, so their traditions and customs are the most widespread. Malagasy people have different ancestries as generations of people were coming to the island. They have something Arabian, Persian, African, Vietnamese, Javanese, and Japanese. No wonder that such a unique mix of different nations has given rise to fantastic traditions and rich heritage. The Malagasy also divide into the mountain and coastal people – there are some differences in their habits and traditions.
A beautiful island, Madagascar attracts visitors with its unforgettable nature, dense forests, clean lakes and spectacular waterfalls, many species of …
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Of course, Christianity, including Orthodox Christianity, is widespread in Madagascar. There are many Muslim people too. However, the ancient cult of ancestors is prevailing on the island. The Malagasy worship their deceased ancestors. These beliefs gave rise to the biggest religious holiday on the island – Famadihana. This ceremony, which is aimed at honoring the deceased ancestors, takes place from June to September. Islanders take remains of their fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and so on from family crypts, take care of them, demonstrate these remains to other people, put on new cerements, and return them back to crypts. This event, which may look a bit scary to unprepared foreigners, is impossible without dancing.
Indigenous people speak the Malagasy language that is a part of the Austronesian language family. The language is somewhat reminiscent of the Indonesian and Malaysian languages. Of course, people working in restaurants and hotels can speak English or French, but not all of them. Moreover, it may be problematic to find an English speaking person outside of tourist areas. This is one of the reasons why travelers are better to explore the island with the guide who will help to avoid misunderstandings and potential problems. That being said, “Fady” is the most important word that travelers need to understand. This word translates as “taboo” or something prohibited. Don’t forget to smile and be friendly as this will help to understand each other better. Copyright
Traditions of Malagasy cuisine have deep roots in the Malay past of the island. However, close proximity to Africa also shaped the culinary …
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In general, Malagasy people are cheerful and friendly with tourists. That is why conflicts based on language problems are rare here. Of course, tourists need to respect the traditions of local people. For example, when visiting sacred areas, including areas close to cemeteries, it is recommended to leave small gifts, such as food, alcohol, cigarettes. Almost everything except money is fine. Keep calm, do not laugh loudly, do not strike provocative poses when taking pictures, do not smoke close to religious landmarks, and do not eat pork.
Malagasy people cherish their nature because it is connected with the ancestors’ cult for them. Local people believe in the transmigration of souls, so they try not to hurt animals. This is particularly true about crocodiles, chameleons, and lemurs. Tourists need to respect this rule – a failure to do that is likely to result in a large fine. When visiting sacred forests, it is prohibited to pick flowers, do fishing or hunting.
Madagascar is not famous as a country for sightseeing. There is nothing strange in this because there are not many historic and architectural …
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There are several more unusual traditions in Madagascar that tourists are better to be aware of before visiting the country. Local people do not say “to the right” or “to the left”. Instead of that, they use directions like “to the north”, “to the east” or “to the south-east”. It is absolutely normal to greet unknown people on the street. Greeting an elder person, even though he or she is a complete stranger, is a sign of respect. When talking to Malagasy people, do not call them by their name or family name. As a rule, it is better to use the title or profession in this case. Finally, do not give categorical rejections as they are not common on the island.
Antananarivo Some sluggishness is one of the national character’s peculiarities. That being said, do the Malagasy really need to hurry? They are surrounded by wild nature and endless ocean. Tourists do not need to be angry at waiters or a receptionist in a hotel and accuse them of being slow. Local people do not want to offend foreign guests. It is just typical for them to be somewhat laid-back. The same applies to bus delays and the start time of various events, including the extremely important ones. There are certain rules about the island’s army and police. It is prohibited to take pictures of these people and related objects – tourists might be arrested if they fail to follow this rule.
Madagascar offers a rich choice of entertainments to its guests. The majority of these activities are connected with nature in some way or another. …
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Family always goes first for Malagasy people. Families with numerous children are more widespread than families with one or two kids. If a local person invites you to visit their house or a religious ceremony, do not refuse because this will be considered an insult. By the way, hospitality is also a national trait of Madagascar’s people. When visiting someone’s house, don’t forget to bring small gifts, such as food, cigarettes, alcohol. Rum is always a good choice. Banana and ginger rum are particularly popular. Matriarchy or, at least, equality of men and women reign in local families. Outside tourist areas, it can be not very safe to walk alone. This is particularly true about female tourists who travel alone – it is better to hire a guide in this case.
Madagascar guide chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Fantastic City Tours and Excursions in Madagascar

Reference information
Map of all churches
Cathedrals and basilicas in Madagascar
♥   Cathédrale, Tôlagnaro. On the map   Photos
♥   Cathédrale, Toliara. On the map   Photos
♥   Cathédrale Saint-Vincent de Paul, Ihosy. On the map   Photos
♥   Cathédrale du Saint-Nom de Jésus, Fianarantsoa. On the map   Photos
♥   Cathédrale Maria Manjaka Namahora, Morondava. On the map   Photos
♥   Cathédrale Kristy Mpanjaka, Miarinarivo. On the map   Photos
♥   Cathédrale de l’Immaculée Conception, Andohalo. On the map   Photos
Country maps Maps of Madagascar
Car rental on Car rental in Madagascar

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Famous sites of Madagascar in pictures

Unique traditions in cities of Madagascar

Catholic Christmas attracts a large number of tourists to Madagascar, as it is celebrated on a grand scale here. All the buildings are decorated with Christmas attributes and garlands. Madagascar Santa Clauses, differing from American - leanness, stroll through the streets and treat children with snacks. Local residents perform hymns and organize performances and concerts. This day is the most important holiday on the island and is saturated with the festive spirit of Christmas fun. On … Read more

Map of Madagascar regions with authentic traditions

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