Customs and traditions
According to Abbreviationfinder, 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 felt above.
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.
- Countryaah: 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 animals.
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.
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.
According to Countryaah, 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 democratic progress.
The government is being reformed
Rajoelina reforms the government but still surrounds itself only with loyal employees.
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.