| Madagascar is an island with beautiful landscape, located in the Indian Ocean along the Mozambique Channel. It lays in the heart of Indian Ocean among other island such as Seychelle, Mauritius, Reunion, and Mayotte. Madagascar is the fourth largest island ( 587, 040 square kilometers}Area land: 581,040 sq km, area water: 5,500 sq km, coastline: 4,828 km) in the world after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo. An island that is about the size of Texas. The people of Madagascar originated from Indonesia, Malaysia, Polynesia, and from Eastern Africa. The population is about 16 million. The people from the island is called " Malagasy ".
The island consists of 6 states: Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Fianarantsoa, Mahajanga, Toamasina, and Toliary; with Antananarivo as the Capital. A state which is located at the island's center in a mountain range, which occupies more than half of main island. The country's official languages are Malagasy and French. However, because Madagascar has 18 different tribes, each tribe has their own dialect.
Madagascar features some of the world's most unique flora and fauna.
So far over 200, 000 plants and animals have been identified in Madagascar; of these over 150, 000 are found nowhere else in the world. The island is home to rare lemurs. About Nine-tenths of these lemurs are found in Madagascar. Some of the best-known are: the dwart Microcebus, no bigger than a mouse, found all over the island, the very friendly Lemur Macaco, on the island of Nosy Be, the Lemur Catta, with its distinctive gray body and long black and white striped tall, seen in the Berenty and Amboasary Reserve near Fort-Dauphin, the Lemur Sifaka, also at the Berenty and Amboasary Reserve which leaps 30 feet or more from branch to branch, the Indri, the tallest of the lemurs which does not survive in captivity, can be seen in the Perinet Reserve, in the eastern Madagascar, the Aye-Aye, the rarest of all lemurs found on the island of Mangabe or in the region of Mananara. Also Madagascar is full of diversity of reptiles, amphibians and birds as well as more than 3,000 species of butterfly. Not only that, but Madagascar boasts one of the richest flora in the world and shetlers more than 10,000 varieties of plants, most with no other refuge, including: 1000 different species of Orchids, including the Angraecum Sesquipedale, the rarest of all with its white flowers, and the exotic black orchid; both found mostly in the eastern rain forest, the Ravinala, or "provident plant", a water-storing bottle tree; and the Raphia Palm, found in the east and south; 8 different species of Baobabs, 7 of them are endemic of Madagascar, the carnivourous Nepenthes, or a "pitcher plant", the spiny succulent forest of south, with its Kalanchoe, Aloe, Euphorbia, and Pachypodium.
The Malagasy people has some unique traditions and customs. Malagasy familes always have strong bond. All children live with their parents until they want to get married or they want to move out at their own will, and it does no matter at what age that is. The Malagasy traditions are very unique, for example, during an engagement. When two people are in love and are ready to move onto marriage, they must first engaged. Engagement in Madagascar is very different from that of in the United States because engagement is done with a big celebration and in front of relatives from both sides and friends. During the celebration, close relatives from both sides are invited, the groom to be brings a gift for the future bride's parent as an honor and thanks for raising a beautiful daughter, and the engagement ring for the bride to be. During the 17th, 18th, 19th century, engagement was the actual wedding for the Malagasy couple, however, in the 20th and 21st century, there is an engagement, and a separate wedding day.
Another example of the Malagasy traditions and customs is circumcision. When a child is about to be circumcised, all close relatives and friends are invited, a big feast is prepared, and people party all night. At dawn, the child is taken to a hospital to be circumcised, the family awaits at home. When the child gets back, the family, and friends offers toys, money, chocolates, and lots of candies. Then, the party is over.
Also part of the Malagasy traditions and customs is the way people is buried. Unlike in the U.S, where people are buried at cemeteries, families in Madagascar have their own tombstone. Tombstone that their ancestors had built and the families
have renovated. These tombstone are huge, very spacious, and well decorated, almost like the Egyptian pyramids but with many stone-beds that fits generations after generations.
The Malagasy people's main dish is rice. Rice is the Malagasy people's main dish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is served with all kinds of meat and vegetables, and soups (romazava). The Malagasy dish, style of cooking , and taste of the food is very similar to the French cuisine.