Madagascar Religion

By | May 25, 2021


Religion, belief, God and ancestors are very important to the Malagasy people and are always interwoven. About 40% of the residents of Madagascar have a Christian faith, the other half are animistic and thus representatives of natural religions. 23% of the Malagasy people are Catholic, 18% Protestants. Islam did not gain acceptance in Madagascar (7% are Muslims). However, for almost all Madagascans, strict and often rigid customs, rules and prohibitions are an integral part of the entire life cycle. Christian and traditional beliefs have blended through the historical development of Madagascar. Christian beliefs often exist alongside traditional traditions and are not perceived as a contradiction. The constitution guarantees religious freedom. In general, one can observe a tolerant coexistence and coexistence of different faiths in Madagascar. The Christian churches also have a political say, for example the Reformed Protestant Church FJKM, of which Marc Ravalomanana was Vice President. The Lutheran Church of Madagascar (FLM) today has around 2.2 million members, the Catholics are organized in the FKAR (Fiangonana Katolika Apostolika Romanina). The Catholic Church was supported by France in the colonial times and still has a considerable influence today, for example with its strongholds in the coastal cities of Toliara and Toamaisna as well as in Fianarantsoa. The Jesuits were particularly involved in teaching and research. Smaller religious communities represent the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventists, Mormons, Baptists, and the Jews.

Madagascar Religion


According to neovideogames, Fady are rules or mostly prohibitions or taboos that accompany the Malagasy people throughout their lives, restrict them, but also have a positive effect and can create harmony and joie de vivre. Countless actions, thoughts, traits, relationships and foods can be affected by “fady” (taboos, prohibitions). This code of conduct is unique in Madagascar. By following the fady rules, harmony with destiny is established. Some “fady” rules only apply to a small ethnic group, while other rules apply to larger ethnic groups and regions and can have an economic impact. Some researchers even assume that following the numerous “fady” stands so much in the way of Madagascar’s economic upturn that “normal” politics or Long-term economic development becomes impossible. For example, there is the “fady” of not working in the rice fields on Tuesday and Thursday. Many plants and animals are “fady”, sometimes for reasons that are not apparent: Dogs are considered unclean by the Muslims and the Antaimoro, but not by other ethnic groups; at least they are kept here as guard, hunting or herding dogs. Wild animals that are “fady” and therefore not allowed to be hunted can often but not for other ethnic groups; at least they are kept here as guard, hunting or herding dogs. Wild animals that are “fady” and therefore not allowed to be hunted can often but not for other ethnic groups; at least they are kept here as guard, hunting or herding dogs. Wild animals that are “fady” and therefore not allowed to be hunted can often better protected than by national parks.

Together with “fady”the effects of rule violations and the terms guilt, atonement and fate are important in Madagascar. The offense against a “fady” – “ota fady” and the guilt towards the supernatural (= “heloka”) entails the punishment (= “voina”), which is not in the punishment of real people, but in form of disease, crop failure or slow death. Only atonement in the form of an animal sacrifice or a trance ceremony can help. Only those who have freed themselves from “heloka” can be accepted back into the family community (= “fihavanana”). If the Malagasy themselves can laugh at some “fady” people, it is out of the question to make fun of the ancestors, death or the funeral services and tombs. Many Europeans the French colonial rulers, too, make or made the mistake of equating the traditional belief in “fady” with the Malagasy people’s lack of intelligence. It is polite to find out about the “fady” there when visiting unknown regions or villages. The Madagascans continue to believe in a predestination (= vintana) that cannot be avoided. For example, it is a good “vintana” to be born at sunrise, but a bad “vintana” at midnight. Belief, “fady”, guilt and atonement are intricately interwoven and make it difficult to act “right” in everyday life. For the Merina, Friday is associated with the color red and is the best day for funerals. However, “fady” applies on Fridays for red foods. If a baby is born on this day, for which a red chicken has to be sacrificed on its “vintana” day, the celebration should be postponed to Sunday; Sunday is assigned the color white, so a white chicken can be slaughtered. In contrast to “fady”, which mainly contain prohibitions, are”fomba” cultural customs on certain occasions, for example bringing a goat to the bride as a bride present at the wedding.

“Tody” and “Tsiny” are further terms that are intended to shape morality and awareness for independent action. “Tody” stands for the actions of an individual and the responsibility that one has with a certain action. Before reacting or taking action, you should therefore consider whether you are angry, treating or lying to others with “Tody”. “Tsiny”, on the other hand, is to be translated as guilt or atonement and occurs when one ignores the ancestors or their “fady”. This web of guilt and atonement is complex and difficult to understand for Europeans.