Culture of Madagascar

The culture of Madagascar is distinct and interesting. Here is more information about Madagascar culture.
| Monday, October 20, 2008
Madagascar is an island nation that is located off the southeastern coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean. This Island is the fourth largest island in the world. This island has a culture that is distinct and totally independent from the cultural strains of the French, Asia and Africa.

The culture in Madagascar developed without the influence of any other country thus creating its own life style. Madagascar is particularly interesting as it is surrounded by mysteries that include animals, people and nature. The flora and fauna here too needs special mention since they are different from those found in the mainland of Africa.

Language in Madagascar

The language spoken in Madagascar is influenced by other languages. It is because of the fact that the island of Madagascar was colonized by the French that the language there is influenced by the language spoken in France. All in all, the language is Madagascar is a perfect mix of African, Indonesian and Arabic elements. Conversations in this island are interspersed with timeworn proverbs and clever euphemism.

Music in Madagascar

The music in Madagascar, traditional and contemporary revolves around dance rhythms which are influenced both from the African as well as the Indonesian mainland. The lovely dance rhythms that form an important part of this island is accompanied by instruments like the whistle, flute and vahila, which is a 28-stringed instrument that looks like a bassoon and is played like one does a harp. Other instruments that are popular in Madagascar are the lokanga voatavo, and the kabosy, which is very similar to an ukulele.

Cuisine in Madagascar

The staple food of the people of Madagascar is rice. This grain is served with sauces, vegetables, meat and seasoning. The people of this island like food that is hot, thus dishes are often served with hot peppers. A few dishes delicious dishes of Madagascar are the ones made by zebu, which is a local beef and pork apart from those made by fish, crab, corn, peanuts and potatoes.

Religion in Madagascar

The religions that form an important part of Madagascar are Christianity, the traditional and Islam. The traditional religion in this island is the ethnic religion of Africa. About 52 % of the inhabitants of Madagascar follow this religion. The second major religion of Madagascar is Christianity. This religion if followed by about 41% of the people. Islamic practices are followed by the remaining 7%.

Festivals in Madagascar

Many festivals form a part of the Madagascar culture. Some of these festivals are, the Alahamady Be, which is the Malagasy New Year, the Donia, a festival that is held on Nosy Be during the months of May-June. Other festivals are the Famadihana also known as "turning of the bones." This is a burial ceremony that takes place from June to September. It is in the months of November to December that the Gasytsara festival which is a contemporary music festival is held in Tana.

Customs in Madagascar

The Island of Madagascar houses 18 tribes and so the culture here is a mixture of cultural heritage of all these tribes. The people who inhabit this island respect their ancestors a lot and see them as next to god. In the island of Madagascar the funerals involve dancing and feasting. Since the people of Madagascar are afraid of the wrath of their ancestors so they appease the spirits of the dead by taking their corpses out of their graves in order to change their clothes. Every village in Madagascar also has a soothsayer/magician. He is the master of ceremonies who treats maladies and also predicts the future. People in the village treat him with great respect and also take care of him. The people of Madagascar have very simple houses made up of only one room. The front door of the house faces eastward as this is considered as a sign of respect.

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