HISTORY AND CULTURE
History and Culture
Originating from different countries in the past, Malagasy history and culture varies from region to region in Madagascar, each of the respective foko or ethnic groups have their own history, culture, dialect and way of life.
Cultural diversity: A highly preserved traditional wealth
Madagascar has a rich, varied and also mixed culture. A soft mixture of Asian, African and European culture.The Malagasy culture is the fruit of its history shaped by different civilizations. They knew how to preserve their cultural identity through :
– The famadihana is a funeral rite which characterizes the Malagasy. This festival is marked by family reunions, dancing, musical entertainment with folk musicians, the great meal composed mainly of zebu meat or pork. If you also wish to participate in such a festival, you’ll have to come and visit the highlands of the big island in August.
Very religious people
– Malagasy people are very religious and very respectful of their ancestors. For them, God or zanahary is far away and that he communicates through the ancestors. Thus, there’s the Tromba or the rite of possession by which the living communicate with the spirits of their ancestors. There’re also the Mpanandro, who are soothsayers and whom they consult when making important decisions. People in Madagascar also fiercely respect the fady or taboos. The fady can be a day, a garment, a place, a food…
– The hira gasy, an emblematic culture of the Malagasy. It’s a kind of show where musicians sing, dance, make a theatrical presentation or a kind of speech competing with the troops.
Land of a thousand stories: A real open book
The Malagasy ancestors arrived on the west coast of the island: they are the austronesian sailors coming from Polynesia and Malaysia. They surely formed the vahoaka which means people of the sea which qualifies today the Malagasy people.
History makes us believe that the Malagasy people came from the Pacific because their customs have a strong resemblance: the shape and the architecture of the houses, the agriculture, the musical instruments. On their side, there was the vazimba or forest people who were already on the island since always. These two peoples form the Malagasy ancestors.
Time passes, there’s also the evolution of all kinds, there was the colonial period that started around 1885 when the general Galiéni entered and took possession of the capital. Also the rebellion of 1947 favored the decolonization and then a Malagasy state was born around 1960.
The art and cuisine: Unique and simple
– The Malagasy cuisine is predominantly a local gastronomy. Rich, simple, healthy but above all tasty. The rice assumes an important place in the Malagasy culinary art. A Madagascan eats rice 3 times a day. This main dish is accompanied by a laoka or a dish which can be fish, meat, vegetables…
– Malagasy pastry is marked by the mofo gasy and the ramanonaka or also the grefy or their famous cakes called koba. This people has its own donut or the menakely. This cuisine is strongly marked by a typical dish: the ravitoto sy henakisoa. It is the most delicious dish of the Malagasy gastronomy.
They also like the broth, there are those which are made on base of chicken, of brède. The fetish drink in Madagascar is the ranon’apango.