The Malabary

The Malabary, a beautiful traditional costume from the highlands of Madagascar.

Celebrating cultural event and ceremonies, is the occasion to wear the malabary.
A typical costume of the highlands, discover its origin, its characteristics: The malabary has a symbolic meaning in relation to the decorations and accessories that accompany it. How and when to use the malabary? Currently to maintain the tradition this garment holds a cultural importance for the belonging to the community.

Let’s discover the origin of the Malabary and its characteristics as well as its symbolic meanings

Malabary owes its origin to the previous culture. Due to its geographical location in the east of Africa, Madagascar is influenced by Arab and African cultures. The commercial exchanges with the African people contribute to the birth of this traditional costume.

Let us see by which materials is made the malabary. Originally made with linen, cotton, silk, the malabary has experienced a diversification of materials of confections.

Over time, following various adaptations, the materials used have varied. The auxiliaries associated with the malabary reflect the tradition and the cultural harmony of the Malagasy. These accessories include jewelry, a belt to emphasize the waist, a hat, sandals, a pareo on the shoulders. Generally, the colors are bright and varied. The complex and colorful patterns are an art in itself. They translate the achievements of the Malagasy.

The patterns, colors and accessories are all chosen to convey a message or to celebrate a special occasion. Some patterns may be chosen to convey spiritual or religious messages, such as protection and good luck. Displaying cultural messages is the purpose of wearing this costume.

Beautiful opportunities to wear the malabary.

Presenting notably a traditional dress of the highlands, the malabary is worn during ceremony and cultural events. The circumcised boys wear it. The traditional musicians or “mpihira gasy” dress with coquetry. Currently, brides choose the malabary for their engagement or “vodiondry” to symbolize their origin, their modernity and their history.

Preservation of the use of Malabary as a traditional garment

Due to modernization, Malabary is in danger of disappearing, generally due to the lack of interest of young people in its importance in traditional culture. Efforts are being made to preserve the use of this traditional dress. The production of the Malabary costume and its use for special events is encouraged in order to maintain its importance in the Malagasy culture. Since the Kabary has become a world heritage, the Malabary is now starting to gain popularity within the Malagasy community.

Share with friends