Madagascar people facts
People of Madagascar

55 Beautiful Madagascar Culture facts

What do you think makes up the Madagascar culture facts? Is it the people, land, animals or traditions? People are known for their culture and culture is the backbone of many African societies. Without culture and the diversity in most African cultures, the African society will be in plain black and white.

Who Likes plain? I don’t. I will prefer a vibrant colourful tradition. This is why we are here. To know more about beautiful Madagascar Culture facts.

If you are new here, welcome to our little world where we discuss everything and all things African.

Today, we take a peek at a special people and clan. They are unique in so many ways and a friendly set of people. I know you will have a nice time them.

Before we go further on the list of Madagascar Culture facts, let us meet the people. You wouldn’t mind, right?

The People Of Madagascar

Madagascar people facts
People of Madagascar

There are about eighteen different ethnic groups in Madagascar and each tribe have their unique personality. Some tribe share some traditions and cultures but others are independent.

Does this mean the people are not united?

They are united to an extent but the diversity among them is also a major challenge to the country.

The diversity in Madagascar is also their uniqueness. The belief in ancestors, spirits and the afterlife is a shared tradition among all ethnic groups.

One can not say who are the first settlers in Madagascar. What we do know however from DNA testing and anthropologist is that the Madagascar people are a mixed race.

A mixed-race of Southern Asian ( present-day Indonesian ) and Africa. This statistic is got from DNA testing.

Other races came into the country through trading.  As trades improve, so also is the relationship between the locals and tradesmen. Over time, some stayed back and the frequent relationship with the trader’s influence the immediate culture and practice.

List Of Culture Facts In Madagascar

1. Right from the days of their ancestors, tombs are always elaborately decorated. Sometimes, it is more decorated than that of the living individual. Durable stones and marbles are the materials used in making the tomb.

2. Madagascar people believe in the worship/reverence of the forefather.

3. Do you know that the Madagascar national dress the woven lamb has developed into an art form?

4. Another Madagascar culture facts is that the influence of Southeast Asian culture is present.

5. The official language in Madagascar is French and Malagasy.

Food  Culture In Madagascar

Madagascar food culture
Madagascar Food

6. Madagascar food is made up of rice, vegetables and meat.

7.  There is a proverb in Madagascar that says the wise know when they are full. This simply means, when served as a guest, do not eat so fast because if your food is finished, you will serve another.

You can not tell if that is the meal for tomorrow. So what do you do? You eat at the same pace as your host. When he/she is done, you are also through.

Wow, are you feeling this? Am loving it.

8. When eating rice, the Malagasy people use spoon and fork.

9. Rice is so important in Malagasy culture that it is used to tell weight, distance and time. For example, the agricultural calendar was designed around the planting cycle of rice.

The distance between the two locations is measured through the time it takes to cook a pot of rice. Starting from when they commence the journey, to the final destination.

10. Do you also know that in Madagascar rice is considered holy? Oh boy! What a myth. Well different folks, spectacular style.

11. On food culture, Madagascar people like to eat/buy fresh things. So if you are in the canned food business please don’t, go to Madagascar.

Respect Culture In Madagascar

Respect culture in Madagascar
Respect culture

12. In Madagascar when you call someone, you beckon on them with your hands facing down and not up. When it’s up, the people take it as an insult. They feel it is a prostitute you can call that way.

13.  When you want to shake an individual in Madagascar, you put your right hand out, hold it with your left hand and bow a bit. This is so respectful. A sigh of honour I must confess.

I hope you are enjoying this episode of Madagascar culture facts.

You can also check Nigeria culture facts. It’s an incredible piece.

14.  During greetings, individuals are addressed as lord. Whether you are a male/female.

15. Furthermore, in Madagascar culture facts, are that the people respect others property. No one crosses your bag when is on the floor. Instead, you are asked to move it.

Believe In The Ancestors Culture

Madagascar celebration of the dead
Famadihana ceremony

16. Every seven years, the Malagasy people dig out the remains of their dead loved ones. It is called Famadihana. The corpse is carried on the head and dance around to live music.

A lot of rites follow this process afterwards. However, it is more of a remembrance ceremony than a ritual tradition.

17. The cow is used for ritual purpose and also to show off the wealth of an individual.

18.  The Malagasy people mark the ears of their cow and also shape the horns to a particular shape. This helps to choose which cow to sacrifice to their ancestors.

19. Divination is also a core aspect in the Madagascar culture and it is paramount in Madagascar culture facts.

20. Do you that the sikitid divination is done like calculating in maths? This system of divination is influenced by the Arabic people.

Funeral Sculpture in Madagascar
Funeral Sculpture

21. Interestingly enough, Madagascar is famous for its funeral sculptures. Some of these sculptures have been in existence for more than 50 years. I guess this should come as the number one in my list on Madagascar culture facts.

Tribe Specific Culture

Betsimisaraka culture
Betsimisaraka Girl

22. The merina ethnic groups in Madagascar believe that the ancestors can influence things of the living either for good or evil.

23. Please forgive me for laughing. This next Madagascar culture fact is so funny. Am sorry if you are from Madagascar. Am just learning about your culture.

Do you know the Merina ethnic group in Madagascar believe that eating rice is a key to moral behaviour?

24. The Betsimisaraka are the second-largest ethnic group in Madagascar. They make up fifteen per cent of the population.

25. The Betsimisaraka tribe has a clear line between a male and a female. For example, in a group of male and female, a female must not walk in front of a male.
Also if a male and a female are walking, and there is a load, the female carries it. No matter how heavy it is.

It is seen as taboo for a man to carry the load when there is a female around.

This sounds/ look like Africa. The woman is always the second class. Is it a crime to be a woman?

26. Also in the Betsimisaraka tribe, men can use one spoon to serve rice from the main bowl into their plates and eat. However, the women must use two spoons. One for the main bowl, and the other, to eat.

27. Furthermore, young men do not wear shoes during the lifetime of their fathers.

28. The crocodile is worshipped and feared. The Betsimisaraka villagers go to the river banks and throw zebu gifts (cow with a zebra colour) to the crocodiles as offerings.

29. It is taboo for a brother to shake hand with a sister.

General Culture

30. Do you know the people from Madagascar are very creative? They have lots of handmade product.

31. The community has two main religion. Christianity and Islam. The majority are Christians and the followers celebrate every ritual the Christians celebrate. For example, Esther and Christmas.

32. Every male in Madagascar has a silver bracelet called vagonvagon.

33. Like Nigerians, the Malagasy people don’t show emotions. Do this run in the blood of Africans? Well, it seems for Malagasy it is more intense.

34. While the Europeans don’t appreciate being fat, it will shock you to know that the Malagasy people love it. Can you believe this Madagascar culture fact? When you are fat, it is seen as having a life.

35. The people are blunt when they speak. For example, a white lady will look for nice ways to tell the other that she is fat. In Madagascar, she will just say it. You are fat and that’s it. Simple.

Are you in a good mood, tell me how you feel? Are you learning something about Madagascar culture facts?

Madagascar Archive

36. Do you know that the Hova language is the dialect used for teaching in public schools from grade one to five? It is also used for teaching history and Malagasy through high school.

37. The ruling class and the nobles favour the protestant way of worship while the former slaves and their descendant’s favour Catholicism.

38. Circumcision is also in the culture hive of the Madagascar people. Boys are circumcised within the first seven years. During the process, prayers are offered to the ancestors for protection.

39.  Marriage, birth, death and the new year are communal celebrations.

40. Furthermore, in a particular tribe, young men do not wear shoes during the lifetime of their fathers.

41. The Madagascar culture facts state that it is taboo to call the name of a chief when he is late. A new name is given and that is the name he is addressed with.

If anyone fails to upload this law, he/ she will face a dare punishment

African cultures have a lot to do with names and there are stories behind every African name. This is why we have a naming culture in almost all African countries.

42. Do you know that when a woman gives birth she is secluded from the rest of the family for about fifteen days? During these days, she is given special food and bathes with water filled with lime and lemon leaves.

Thereafter, she joins her family. The celebration of a new arrival follows afterwards.

Religious Facts

43. Madagascar people believe in communication with God. While others go through a priest, the Malagasy people contact God through a tree/ rock.

Check out this article African Masquerade to learn more about spirits in Africa.

44. Myth on Madagascar culture facts state that the chameleon was sent by God to man to make them immortal but it was too slow and so man remains mortal.

45. The Malagasy people also keep the chameleon in the house to chase flies.

46. Do you know in one of the ethnic groups in Madagascar that a king is entitled to share his bed with any of his subjects?

This is where I take a break to stretch my legs. Am back.

47. The King do nothing but he is allowed to do whatever he likes. He is the only person who does not grow a rice farm but has more than enough rice.

48. According to the sacalaka believes, when a person dies, he/she becomes an intermediary between God and man.

49. Do you know that in Madagascar crocodile are sacred animals? They are only killed when the crocodile kills a human. When a crocodile is killed, the people mourn and give it a befitting burial like a deceased relative.

50. Do you also know that all Madagascar house faces the east? The people love the sunset. It is a moment when they share tales, relief memories of their late loved ones or even be poetic.

Other Cultures

51. Do you know that Madagascar people have a sport called cork fight? It is a sport where men train their redhead cock for a fight. The hens must be of the same weight and height.

52. In Madagascar, names are like sentences and they are long to pronounce. For example, the capital city Antananarivo means a city of a thousand soldiers.

Madagascar Amulet
Amulet in Madagascar

53.  The people also wear good luck amulets made from wood. Some take the shape of a bird, zebu cow, horse etc. The amulet is called Ody in Madagascar.

54. Do you know the Malagasy women have their unique face painting traditions? For some African countries, face painting is attributed to ritual however, in Madagascar, face painting is a beauty regimen.

Cool! You can say that again. The incredible thing about this Madagascar culture fact is that all ingredients used in preparing this paint makeup, are organic.

Culture instrument valiha
Valiha musical instrument in Madagascar

55. Music and instruments made in Madagascar are multicultural. For instance, the Malagasy valiha is a tube-like instrument, that has its origins trace to Southeast Asia.

When this instrument is played, it sounds like an African instrument. Another instrument is the calabash from Africa. This calabash can produce a melodious sound. However, when the Madagascar musicians play it, it sounds Asian.

What a great combination of culture. Am loving Madagascar culture facts. What about you?


In summary, Madagascar culture is a mixed culture. A mixture of Asia and Africa. They believe in the ancestors and their major food is rice.

Presently, the people might not be wealthy, but if you own a cow you are. These are just a few of Madagascar culture facts and I believe you have a great time meeting these people.

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