Respect for the Fady in Malagasy society

When you travel to Madagascar, you’ll frequently hear a few phrases with the word “Fady” in them: Fady to do this, Fady to do that. But what does the Fady really mean in Malagasy society? The Fady are cultural prohibitions or taboos that are deeply rooted in the Malagasy way of life. These rules, passed down from generation to generation, govern the daily life of the population, and failure to respect them can have harmful consequences for them or their descendants.

The Fady in Education and Culture

The Fady play an important role in the education of children in Madagascar. They are taught from an early age to respect these prohibitions, which cover a wide range of subjects, and can concern food or behaviour in society. Some Fady may even be playful or amusing, but all are taken seriously.

Examples of Specific Fady

Food prohibitions : In certain regions, and especially in historic areas such as the Rova or Royal Residences, sacred places and ancient ruins, it is forbidden to eat pork, goat or garlic meat. Violation of these prohibitions can lead to illness or even unpleasant supernatural experiences.
Prohibited behaviours : In certain practices of ethnic groups in Madagascar, acts such as pointing at a tomb or whistling after dark can have serious consequences, such as losing a phalanx or attracting ghosts.
Local taboos : Fady may vary from one region to another or even within a group of people; they may be interpreted differently. It is therefore important to obtain local information from the chiefs or Zokiolona who lead the region. For example, in some villages it may be forbidden to plant bulbs.

Tips for Travelers

• Get local information: Ask your guide or local people about the specific Fady of the region you are visiting. Respecting these prohibitions shows your interest in Malagasy culture and is greatly appreciated.
• Adopt a Respectful Attitude: Although some Fady may seem strange, it's important to respect them to avoid offending the locals and for your own well-being.
• Take advice from the locals: If you unintentionally transgress a Fady, ask the locals for advice on how to apologise or rectify your mistake.

Need assistance?
Do not hesitate to contact our Madagascar specialists

Lemurs Meeting

Antananarivo day tour

Other travel guides that may help you

Public Transport in Madagascar

Madagascar has different types of public transport that could be useful to you.

Accommodation in Madagascar

Madagascar has a wide range of accommodation to cater for all tastes.

The payment options

Payment options in Madagascar are very limited.