Christmas in Madagascar

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The official language of Madagascar is Malagasy. 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year' in Malagasy is 'Mirary Krismasy sambatra sy Taona vaovao tonga lafatra ho anao'. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.

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Most Malagasy's only exchange small presents. In Madagascar, Santa Claus is called 'Dadabe Noely'.

Most people go to Church on Christmas Eve in Madagascar. The services start about 5.00pm and last 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 (even strangers) greet each by saying 'Arahaba tratry ny Noely' which means 'Merry Christmas'.

Malagasy families like to eat Christmas dinner together in large groups and dress up in the best (or new) 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! They are also the national emblem of Madagascar.