Customs and traditions
The use of Madagascar is not very much
surrounded by rules of conduct. This applies both in
more official contexts and in meetings with private
individuals. But for a Western European, the intensity
and the physical proximity of the conversation can be
Nurtured clothing is expected at least in more formal
contexts. You are greeted by shaking hands, when at the
same time you should hold the left hand under the right
elbow. You avoid addressing someone by first name,
unless it is a close acquaintance. "Mrs., Miss, Mr.", or
the person's professional title, plus the surname meets
the requirements of courtesy.
Overview of the capital city of Madagascar, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
As a foreigner, one should arrive in time for an
agreed meeting and can at least in the capital
Antananarivo expect that the others also keep the time.
Other rules apply in the countryside. The Madagascans
attach some pride to living according to "Malagasy time"
(photoana gasy), which is controlled by the
position of the sun in the sky, not by the clock.
The conversation can be perceived by a Western
European as intense and perhaps even intrusive. You are
required to be open with your opinions and say in clear
text what you think. People of the same gender prefer to
touch each other during the conversation and stand close
to each other. If you back away from a few steps, it can
be perceived that you do not feel comfortable in the
company. However, overly intense direct eye contact can
be perceived as unfavorable.
Clear gender roles
If you point out a person to someone, you should bend
your index finger inwards, so that in practice you point
to yourself. Pointing your finger at a person is
considered very impolite.
In formal contexts it is not customary to hand over
gifts. If you are going to spend the night with a
family, however, it is advisable to bring a gift with
you, but it does not have to be something expensive and
remarkable. Most people have the attitude that it is the
idea that counts.
In the Malagasy home, the chores are quite clearly
divided between men and women. Men are responsible for
agriculture or fishing, while it is women's
responsibility to take care of the children, cook and
fetch water. From a very young age, children can learn
to help fetch water, collect firewood or look after the
According to current law, inheritance is to be shared
equally between sons and daughters, but in practice,
according to tradition, the house and the land are still
usually given to the sons, while the daughters receive
furniture, jewelry and kitchen utensils.
The Malagasy cuisine revolves around the rice, by far
the most common staple food. Most often, it is served
with a dish of fish, meat, chicken or beans, which can
be fried, grilled, cooked or cooked with coconut milk.
To this can be added a vegetable dish and some spicy
sauce. The kitchen is often located next to the
apartment building for fire safety reasons. On festive
occasions, such as important family affairs or holidays,
extra meat is served.
Holidays and Holidays
Such important family matters may be about boys to be
circumcised, a toddler to cut their hair for the first
time, or a newborn to be shown to the surroundings. But
the most important event in many Malagasy families is
when the family's dead are to be buried (see below).
It is very important to keep in touch with past
generations. The spirits of the deceased are considered
to have a great influence on everyday life and can also
mediate contact with the gods. When a person dies, she
can be temporarily placed in a grave near the home,
until, after perhaps many years of preparation, the
remains are picked up, dressed in a new wrap and moved
to the family grave, which can sometimes be far away.
Halloween Day, November 1, is for many Madagascans
the most important holiday of the year, when the
family's death is honored. From the state's point of
view, Independence Day is the highlight of the year on
June 26, but strong feelings are also tied to March 29,
when the commemoration of the 1947 uprising against the
French colonial empire is celebrated (see Older
History). Christian holidays such as Christmas and
Easter are also holidays.
The lowest presidential age is lowered
Residents say yes to a new constitution that lowers the minimum age for a
presidential candidate from 40 years to 35 years, which allows Rajoelina to run
for office in an upcoming election.
The president is sentenced to life
Ravalomanana is sentenced in his absence to life imprisonment for the
shooting deaths in February 2009.
EU aid is withdrawn
The EU is suspending development aid to Madagascar in protest of the lack of
The government is being reformed
Rajoelina reforms the government but still surrounds itself only with loyal
Plan for return to democracy
Pressed by the outside world's condemnations, pressures from the military and
the country's economic problems, Rajoelina presents a timetable for a return to
democratic rule after contacts with Ravalomanana.
AU faces sanctions against Rajoelina
The African Union (AU) faces sanctions against Rajoelina and his associates,
as the organization does not recognize the sitting regime.