Christmas in Madagascar

Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the southeastern coast of Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar as well as numerous smaller peripheral islands.

The Capital and largest city of this country is Antananarivo.

Christmas in Madagascar

Christmas Celebrations in Madagascar :

Christmas in Madagascar means a time of festivities for the people of the island. However, celebration of Christmas in Madagascar is somewhat different from the celebrations in other parts of the world. The environmental conditions of the island does not approve of more deforestation. So, the concept of decorating a Christmas tree is not usually followed. Some pine trees are available in the stores of the capital city but the stocks are quite limited. The figure of Santa Claus is an integral part of Christmas in Madagascar. Santa Claus is lovingly called ‘Dadabe Noely’ in Madagascar. The name means Grandfather Christmas and signifies the essence of the festival.

Christmas in Madagascar

Christmas Eve is most important for the children who participate in singing carols in the churches. Christmas in Madagascar also marks the baptism of many children. Holy Communion is generally held on the day after Christmas. Christmas in Madagascar comes during the summer months. Picnics and parties are arranged on this day. Another common custom of Christmas in Madagascar is that people visit their elders and other respectable persons of the area. Filled with fun and frolic, Christmas in Madagascar is one of the chief festivities of the island.

Even though it’s hot, common decorations include holly, robins and snow even though none of them exist in Madagascar! The official language of Madagascar is Malagasy. Most Madagascan’s only exchange small presents. Most people go to Church on Christmas Eve in Madagascar. The services start about 5.00pm and lasts until after midnight! Different groups in the Church, especially children, perform songs and plays celebrating the birth of Jesus. People also go to Church on Christmas Day as well. After the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service, churches give out sweets or biscuits to the people in the Church. On Christmas Day people greet each by saying ‘Arahaba tratry ny Noely’ which means ‘Merry Christmas’.

Madagascan families like to eat Christmas dinner together in large groups and dress up in the best clothes. The meal is normally Chicken or Pork with rice followed by a special cake. Some rich people go to restaurants for Christmas dinner, but most people stay at home with their families. Here are some recipes from Madagascar. A special Christmas food in Madagascar are fresh lychees, which are bought from shops and street sellers, fresh from the trees. The streets get covered in lychee skins! Poinsettias also grow as large outdoor shrubs in Madagascar and don’t just flower at Christmas!

Carols form an important part of Christmas celebrations in Madagascar. Children and adults alike participate in singing Christmas carols. Caroling is done at Easter (and at midnight at that). Children sing their hearts out for the Sunday School Christmas Eve program, though. Advent is Advent. Very little Christmas programming happens before Christmas – but Christmas programs can stretch to Easter! Christmas Eve is for the children’s programs.

Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!