Christmas & New Year’s Eve in Madagascar: the festive season as seen by the Tananarivians

04/12/2018. With December come, among other things, with mangoes, lychees and rain, the end of year festivities. The occasion for some to see Auntie Berthe again at the annual family reunion, or for others, to reconnect for a while with Belou at a party. You know, Belou, the band’s eternal party animal and, strangely enough, the eternal bachelor too :).

In this first survey of the week, as you may have guessed, we are going to focus on the special excitement that animates every year-end. Ring out the oboe, resonate the musette and take out the tree, this is how the end of the year festivities in Antananarivo go!

Not-so-universal parties

You thought everyone was doing the rumba dubstep on New Year’s Eve? I didn’t think so. Whether it was Christmas or New Year’s Eve, we found that each time, about a third of the 975 people we surveyed were not doing the rumba.

Specifically, 35% do not celebrate Christmas and 30% do not celebrate the New Year.

How do the Tananarivians celebrate the Nativity?

Among those celebrating the Nativity (65% of those surveyed), 46% take their artificial trees out of the closet for the occasion, while 18% prefer natural trees. 31% then chose not to bend to this, admittedly, Western tradition. The remaining 5% preferred not to say.

For 72% of them, Christmas is celebrated as a family, surrounded by their own family. 22%, on the other hand, prefer to spend it in communion in church and celebrate there what is still a feast with a strong religious connotation.

Nothing like spending Christmas with your family
Nothing like spending Christmas with your family

They are then 5% to organize festivities with friends and a very (very) small minority frequent spaces and other evenings at the cabaret: 0.16%.

Finally, it appeared that the overall trend for Christmas is to stay in the capital with 87% of people celebrating Christmas staying in the city.

And how do the people of Tananarivo celebrate New Year’s Eve?

If, compared to those who celebrate Christmas, more people celebrate the end of the year (70%), they are also more likely to gather as a family on this occasion: 84%.

12% then prefer to welcome the New Year by organizing a party with friends, while only 2% go to church to celebrate the New Year. 1%, finally, prefer the festive atmosphere of the spaces.

Again, as for the Christmas party, we prefer to stay in Antananarivo, the choice of 82% of the celebrants.

The budget issue

When asked about their budgeting habits in preparation for the holiday season, only 37% said they were saving for it.

The amount of this budget is between 50,001 and 100,000 ariary for 34% of them and 50,000 ariary and less for 21% of the respondents. 16% then plan between 150,001 and 200,000 ariary to properly celebrate the holiday season and between 100,001 and 150,000 ariary for another 15%.

As for the rest:

  • 5% save between 200,001 and 250,000 ariary
  • 2% expect between 500,001 and 550,000ariary
  • 2% also plan between 300,001 and 350,000 ariary
  • 1% prepare 600,000 ariary or more
  • 1%, finally, save between 400,001 and 450,000 ariary

As for the time taken to save that budget, 36% of them manage to do it in 1 month and 25% say… that they don’t need to save :).

Saving up for Christmas? Nooo... xD
Saving up for Christmas? Nooo… xD

17% say afterwards that it takes between 1 and 3 months to raise the money, while for 6% it takes more than 3 months up to 6 months.

Note that those who take more than 6 months to complete their budget are in the minority and represent only 1% of those who budget their parties.

In conclusion of this holiday survey

For sure, December is synonymous with feasts, confetti and vorontsiloza for most Tananarivians: 65% celebrate Christmas and 70% celebrate New Year’s Eve.

At Christmas, the Christmas tree remains a must, even if 46% of celebrants prefer it made of plastic. That’s right, it’s been that way ever since cutting down trees became illegal. On the other hand, 18% are breaking the law and choosing a natural tree (the real thing) that smells like a tree (the real thing) for a beautiful Christmas (the real thing?) :). Finally, 31% celebrate Christmas, but do not decorate a tree.

Generally speaking, whether it is for Christmas or the end of the year, the people of Tananarivo like to get together with their families, especially on New Year’s Eve. On the other hand, churches attract more people to the Nativity, while bambooing with friends until after midnight is mostly done on December 31.

However, only a little less than 4 out of 10 Tananarivians plan a budget for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. If 25% of the celebrants have this budget without even saving, the majority of them, 36%, take 1 month to set it up. In absolute terms, it takes them less than 6 months to raise the desired amount.

Let’s end with the popularity of the Christmas fairs and other Christmas bazaars that flourish all over town at this time of year: 32% of celebrants (Christmas and New Year’s Eve) like to visit these events, a third of them roughly.


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