2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Madagascar


Strictly speaking are the tribes of Madagascar ethnic groups with their own culture and religion. Many ethnic groups had their own kingdoms in the past. The cultural and religious background of the various tribes is dominated by ancestor worship, which sees the ancestors as mediators between the living and God. Due to continuing population movements and mixing with each other it is very difficult to declare strict regional borders for all tribes. It is assumed that the population of Madagascar was formed through successive migrations of peoples from Southeast Asia, the Arabian peninsula and East Africa and were grafted onto an aboriginal population of unknown origin, called the Vazimba. Once established, all these groups created a common language known as Malagasy, spoken and practiced throughout the island. According to some assertions, the Malagasy are Africans as their country is not far from the African continent, but this is only true for some groups and not the entire population despite the existence of Bantu and Swahili words in the linguistic vocabulary of northwestern Madagascar. This may be explained by the fact the individuals from the other side of the Mozambique Channel were the objects of the slave trade carried out by Arab and Indian merchants, who came to sell slaves in some ports of the big island.

Ethnic Groups

Madagascar is a semipresidential democratic republic with a popularly elected president, a bicameral legislature Senate and National Assembly , prime minister, and cabinet. A presidential election was held on November 7, , with a two-candidate run-off on December 19, The winner, Andry Rajoelina, took office on January Legislative elections took place in late May with no major incidents. Observers judged these elections to be generally free and fair, with some irregularities.

Nationwide municipal elections took place on November 27 and were generally considered to be free and fair.

It is home to important palaces and sacred sites dating back to the 17th didn’t agree with her views or didn’t respect local Malagasy custom.

Comoros , an independent state comprising three of the Comoro Islands in the Indian Ocean , off the coast of East Africa. A fourth island of the Comorian archipelago, Mayotte , is claimed by the country of Comoros but administered by France. Although the early history of the islands is uncertain, they are thought to have been explored by Arab and Persian traders in antiquity and, like Madagascar, settled by small numbers of Malayo-Indonesian peoples, gaining a sizable population only when Bantu-speaking peoples from the African mainland settled there.

European colonial powers agreed that the Comorian archipelago would come under French rule in —87, and it became an overseas territory of France in Three of the islands gained independence in Comoros is poor, witnessing an ongoing exodus of educated and skilled workers to France and a steady decline in gross domestic product. With miles of beautiful beaches, tourists have always been drawn to Comoros.

The Comoros are a group of islands at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel of the Indian Ocean , between Madagascar and the southeast African mainland, about miles km off the eastern coast of Africa. The islands emerged from the floor of the Indian Ocean as a result of volcanic activity. Along the seashore, broad expanses of open sandy beaches are interrupted by isolated groups of coconut palms or mangrove trees. A few coastal areas are distinguished by the harsh dark tangle of recent lava flows, while others are covered by smoothly rounded rocks, eroded reminders of ancient volcanic activity.

Grande Comore is the largest and loftiest island.


The most emblematic instrument of Madagascar, the valiha , is a bamboo tube zither carried to the island by early settlers from southern Borneo, and is very similar in form to those found in Indonesia and the Philippines today. Traditional houses in Madagascar are likewise similar to those of southern Borneo in terms of symbolism and construction, featuring a rectangular layout with a peaked roof and central support pillar.

Reflecting a widespread veneration of the ancestors, tombs are culturally significant in many regions and tend to be built of more durable material, typically stone, and display more elaborate decoration than the houses of the living. Acquier , pp. African influence is reflected in the sacred importance of zebu cattle and their embodiment of their owner’s wealth, traditions originating on the African mainland.

Cattle rustling, originally a rite of passage for young men in the plains areas of Madagascar where the largest herds of cattle are kept, has become a dangerous and sometimes deadly criminal enterprise as herdsmen in the southwest attempt to defend their cattle with traditional spears against increasingly armed professional rustlers.

The culture of Madagascar is an amalgamation of various cultures of its fully satisfied they consult an astrologer to fix a date for the marriage.

Culture Trip stands with Black Lives Matter. When a woman gives birth, the midwife gives the umbilical cord and attached placenta to the father. Traditionally, it was his responsibility to bury them under a flat stone at the entrance of the ancestral home. Nowadays in urban areas, it is buried in a place around the house in an area unlikely to be polluted in any way.

While burying this, the father makes sure never to turn his head. Once a meal is served, no one is allowed to pick up their cutlery before the elder does. This person may be a father, a grandmother or a grandfather. Once they have lifted their spoon and started to eat, the rest of the family can start to eat as well.

The cut hair is then mixed with honey and tuberous roots such as sweet potatoes. At this point, the family members eat this mixture. This is a kind of rite of passage that allows the baby to fully integrate into society. When a Malagasy person builds a house, there are rituals and rules to be respected. Malagasy belief states that the best sunshine is in the afternoon as the sun starts to set, so all houses should open up facing west.

Windows are usually only located in the north, and doors in the west.

9 Customs and Traditions Only Locals from Madagascar Can Understand

Antananarivo, 5 December: Throughout Southern African there is a wealth of cultural diversity; of tradition, practice and ritual. Many cultural norms and values are positive and contribute to keeping traditions alive. While some states across the region have enacted legislation to protect women from discriminatory customary practices, the conflict between formal and customary legal systems persists, leaving women vulnerable to harmful traditional and cultural practices.

The SADC Protocol on Gender and Development urges member states to ensure that girls enjoy the same rights as boys and are protected from harmful cultural attitudes and practices.

Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sudan, Zambia, Zimbabwe Date of retrieval: 22/04/

By Vigdis Hocken and Aparna Kher. On June 21, , many time zones in the Northern Hemisphere welcome the first day of the summer, as the Sun reaches its northernmost position in the sky. A significant turning point during the year – the days start getting shorter and the nights longer – the June Solstice is often associated with change, nature and new beginnings.

People around the world celebrate the day, which is also known as the Summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, with feasts, bonfires, picnics, and traditional songs and dances. Celebrations surrounding the June Solstice have a time-honored history. In ancient times, the date of the June Solstice was used to organize calendars and as a marker to figure out when to plant and harvest crops.

Traditionally, this time of year was also popular for weddings. Some historians point to the Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England as evidence of the fact that ancient humans used the June Solstice as a way to organize their calendars. Some believe that Stonehenge’s unique stone circle was erected around BCE in order to establish the date of the Summer Solstice. Viewed from its center, the Sun rises at a particular point on the horizon on day of the June Solstice.

Traditions and Holidays Around the June Solstice

The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga is the most important of the 12 hills surrounding the capital city of Antananarivo and is regarded as the embodiment of the Malagasy cultural identity. Located in a quiet neighbourhood just outside the city there is much to explore and experience in this royal city compound which until recently was closed to foreigners. It still holds special spiritual significance to this day as local Malagasy still make small animal sacrifices on the hill, as well as obey superstitious customs such as never pointing a finger directly at the tombs or the palace itself.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site was first settled in the 15th century and was established as a fortified political capital and royal palace during the reign of King Andriantsimitoviaminandriana in the 18th century. In the 19th century, French colonial authorities tried to undermine the significance and national symbolism of the city but were unsuccessful in their efforts.

A “family,” therefore, in Madagascar is much larger than in Europe and America. witnesses who will testify to their parentage and their place and date of birth. beliefs and customs of the people, to find points of contact with Christian faith.

Traveler Type. Trip Activities. Travel Style. Dreaming of Madagascar. Wild Madagascar. Balancing and carrying bags on the head is the norm in many different countries around the world, including Madagascar. It is a practice dating back many centuries, and Madagascar is a country with a rich and diverse history.

International Travel

Hunger often keeps Valopee awake at night, as do the men talking and laughing outside the door of her bare wooden hut in this southern Madagascar village. They wait until late, hoping for sex. She lies on her hard floor with no mattress, wishing they would go away. Under local custom, single girls and women in some ethnic groups here are expected to offer sex to village men and passing strangers.

Madagascar is a country in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world, and its wildlife is so unique and diverse that​.

The most emblematic instrument of Madagascar , the valiha , is a bamboo tube zither carried to the island by early settlers from southern Borneo , and is very similar in form to those found in Indonesia and the Philippines today. Cattle rustling , originally a rite of passage for young men in the plains areas of Madagascar where the largest herds of cattle are kept, has become a dangerous and sometimes deadly criminal enterprise as herdsmen in the southwest attempt to defend their cattle with traditional spears against increasingly armed professional rustlers.

Less than half of the country’s population practice traditional religion, [7] which tends to emphasize links between the living and the razana ancestors. The veneration of ancestors has led to the widespread tradition of tomb building, as well as the highlands practice of the famadihana , whereby a deceased family member’s remains may be exhumed to be periodically re-wrapped in fresh silk shrouds before being replaced in the womb.

The famadihana is an occasion to celebrate the beloved ancestor’s memory, reunite with family and community, and enjoy a festive atmosphere. It is widely believed that by showing respect for ancestors in these ways, they may intervene on behalf of the living. Conversely, misfortunes are often attributed to ancestors whose memory or wishes have been neglected. The sacrifice of zebu is a traditional method used to appease or honor the ancestors.

In addition, the Malagasy traditionally believe in a creator god, called Zanahary or Andriamanitra. Each of the many ethnic sub-groups in Madagascar adhere to their own set of beliefs, practices and ways of life that have historically contributed to their unique identities. However, there are a number of core cultural features that are common throughout the island, creating a strongly unified Malagasy cultural identity. In addition to a common language and shared traditional religious beliefs around a creator god and veneration of the ancestors, the traditional Malagasy worldview is shaped by values that emphasize fihavanana solidarity , vintana destiny , tody karma , and hasina , a sacred life force that traditional communities believe imbues and thereby legitimates authority figures within the community or family.

Other cultural elements commonly found throughout the island include the practice of male circumcision; strong kinship ties; a widespread belief in the power of magic, diviners, astrology and witch doctors; and a traditional division of social classes into nobles, commoners, and slaves. Similarly, the nobles of many Malagasy communities in the pre-colonial period would commonly employ advisers known as the ombiasy from olona-be-hasina , “man of much virtue” of the southeastern Antemoro ethnic group, who trace their ancestry back to early Arab settlers.

Women and girls of Madagascar

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