Madagascar celebrates the usual Christian holidays, and has three secular public holidays, during which many offices and shops will be closed. The country normally sees in the New Year with a three-day party, with ceremonies, song and dance – and again most offices are closed.

Public holidays

January New Year
March Martyrs’ Day, commemorating the Revolt of 1947
March/April Easter Monday (March 28, 2016; April 17, 2017; April 2, 2018)
May 1 Labour Day
May Ascension (May 5, 2016; May 25, 2017; May 10, 2018)
May/June Whitsun (May 16, 2016; June 5, 2017; May 21, 2018)
June 26 Independence Day
August 15 Assumption
November 1 All Saints’ Day
December 25 Christmas Day

A festival calendar

Diana festivals bit.ly/Diana-Festivals. Festivals of culture, sport, music, dance and arts include: Zegny Zo in Diego Suarez (May); Kabiry in Ambilobe (Aug); and Sorogno in Ambanja (Sept).
Donia Nosy Be (a week or so in May or June) festival-donia.com. Hell-Ville and nearby villages stage shows of traditional music and dance with artists visiting from across the Indian Ocean region.
Famadihana Throughout the central highlands (June–Sept). Hundreds of two-day family exhumation and reburial ceremonies, with feasting and music.
Festivanille Satrahagna Sambava (Aug) bit.ly/Festivanille. Vanilla-flavoured series of weekend festivals in the Sava region (Vohémar, Andapa, Antalaha and Sambava), with sporting contests, music and dance.
Madajazzcar Antananarivo (Oct) madajazzcar.mg. International jazz festival.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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