Malagasy people are not able to live without their oral lore, usually transmitted by the elder man of the family, the community or the village. This practice is transferred from one generation to another. In that way, it could be true that learning, knowledge across generations only through speaking.

Here are some of oral tradition that really well known in Malagasy society and still practiced in our actual day wherever you are in that wonderful island.


It is a kind of speech by “mpikabary, the speaker or the orator”. It occurs during social family or important events such as Wedding, burial, funeral, condolence, famadihana( exhumation) or even political gatherings. It represents public communication addressed in loud voice to the audience using Malagasy proverbs, metaphors, Malagasy idioms, Be careful in a wedding ceremony, groom and breed should be represented by two Mpikabary in a kind kabary contest; So if the groom’s mpikabary doesn’t impress the other side by his kabary, word play, proverbs, normally the ceremony would be postponed and the groom get back home alone without his beloved one.


It could be defined as poems about love; love between man and women, the love of nature, parents and children, the appreciation of good versus evil,  wisdom and foolishness, poverty and wealth reproach and indifferences, mockery and humor, prayers and imprecations and  the acceptance of death as part of life. Here are some parts:

Don’t love me as one loves a door, It’s loved but constantly pushed

Like trees, there is time for their growing’s, a time for their becoming old, and time for their breaking and it is too  for  human beings, time for youth, time for old age, time for good, time for evil and time for death

Malagasy proverbs

It’s a part of life. All Malagasy love their proverbs; they can use them in their everyday life. Malagasy can select one of their thousands for the appropriate moment. Usually Malagasy tend not to say things directly; they use metaphors, or proverbs to express their feelings. Here are some cases: when they meet their beloved one, they usually say “Many are the trees; but sugar cane is the sweetest” or when they want to focus on one task at a time “Don’t take another mouthful until you have swallowed what is in your mouth”.  There are many that could be said, we couldn’t wrote them on our notes but “let’s time will explain it all…”


It is a kind of guessing question always started by “What is that…?” the answer should be spontaneous

Here are some and try to find the answer:

What is that, “A slim guy on the wall”? ……………..Broom

What is that “ a little lake belongs to God that you can’t swim”? ……………eye

What is that “Eat me first, then I will eat you”? …………………………………pepper

Those traditions survive through years and centuries and still used in Malagasy everyday life until now.