—ulture of Madagascar

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Malagasy people are extremely hospitable and welcoming with a refreshingly open communicative style that can sometimes border on direct. A handshake is the usual form of of greeting between strangers meeting for the first time. If meeting a friend then three kisses on the cheek is fine.

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Arrangements and meetings can suffer as a result of a relaxed attitude to clock-watching. Dress is casual, except for posh hotels and restaurants where lightweight suits are advised. Note that military-style clothing should always be avoided, as wearing it can lead to arrest. Restaurants and bars are used for entertaining, with invitations to a family home requiring a good degree of personal acquaintance.

 An invitation to attend a special celebration is a great honour. Acts of kindness should be rewarded with a gift, but never money. Respect should be afforded to the many local taboos (fady) of the Malagasy Ė these are various behaviours that you shouldnít do.

 Although these can change from tribe to tribe and person to person (try to be informed about what they will be before travelling to a new area on the island), some fady are imposed nationwide. Examples include not pointing at tombs, and not killing a propithecus lemur.