The Flag of Madagascar: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

Flag of Madagascar
© Foxytail/

Written by Heather Hall

Published: December 9, 2022

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Where is Madagascar?

Flag of Madagascar

Madagascar is an island off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.


Madagascar (officially the Republic of Madagascar) is an island located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. It is home to a variety of wildlife, plants, and cultures. It is known for its diverse and unique geography, with high mountain ranges, lush rainforests, and sandy beaches. Madagascar has a rich culture and cuisine, with influences from African, Indian, and European countries. In the paragraphs below, learn all about the flag of Madagascar, as well as interesting facts about the country itself!

Madagascar is the second largest island country in the world (after Indonesia), with an area of 228,900 square miles. The main island of Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. It is located off the southeastern coast of Africa and has a population of approximately 30 million people. The country consists of 18 regions and one autonomous province: Antananarivo (the capital).

What is the Geography and Climate of Madagascar?

Madagascar is located near the Indian Ocean on the east and the Mozambique Channel on the west. The terrain is mostly highland, with the highest point at Maromokotro, 9,435 feet above sea level. The climate is tropical, with a wet season from November to April and a dry season from May to October. Temperatures range from 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Animals Can Be Found in Madagascar?


The fanaloka, a small carnivore related to cats, is an animal unique to Madagascar.

©Agami Photo Agency/

Madagascar is home to a wide variety of animals, both endemic and exotic. The island nation is most famous for its lemurs, which are found nowhere else in the world. There are over 100 different species of these primates, including the ring-tailed lemur, red-ruffed lemur, and sifaka.

Other endemic mammals include fossa (the largest carnivorous mammal on the island), fanaloka (a small carnivore related to cats), and tenrecs (small hedgehog-like mammals). Madagascar also has many species of bats and rodents, as well as several types of reptiles, such as chameleons, geckos, skinks, tortoises, lizards, and frogs.

Several unique bird species are amongst Madagascar’s avian population, such as ground rollers that fly through the trees during certain parts of the year. In addition to Madagascar’s natural biodiversity, there are also many introduced animal species from around Africa, such as antelopes and zebras, that roam freely on parts of the island.

What are the Religions and Languages of Madagascar?

The majority of the population in Madagascar is Christian (84.7 percent), with a minority of other faiths, including Islam and traditional African beliefs. The official language is Malagasy, although many people also speak French and English.

What is the Culture and Cuisine of Madagascar?

The culture of Madagascar is a mix of African, Indian, and European influences. Traditional Malagasy music, dance, and storytelling are abundant.

The cuisine of Madagascar is a unique blend of different cultures, with African, Indian, and French flavors all taking center stage. Rice is the staple food in Madagascar, but other ingredients such as cassava, plantains, and various types of seafood are also common in Malagasy dishes.

The influence of Indian cuisine reveals itself through the use of spices like ginger and turmeric, while French influences come through in the preparation methods used to make dishes like crepes or ratatouille. As well as these cultural elements, local produce such as coconuts and exotic fruits play an important role, too, adding flavor and texture to many traditional recipes.

What is the Current Political Structure of Madagascar?

Madagascar is currently a semi-presidential republic, with a president as head of state. Citizens elect the president by popular vote, and the president appoints the prime minister. The current president is Andry Rajoelina, who was elected in 2018.

Flag of Madagascar: Description

Flag of Madagascar

The red and green bands of the flag represent the traditional kingdom of Madagascar.


The national flag of Madagascar contains two horizontal bands of red and green. There is a white vertical band on the left (flagpole) side. The country adopted the flag in 1958; it is based on the flag of the Merina Kingdom, which ruled Madagascar from the early 19th century until the French colonization in 1896.

Flag of Madagascar: Symbolism

The red and green bands of the flag represent the traditional kingdom of Madagascar. Red and white are the colors of the Merina kingdom and stand for purity and sovereignty. Green is the symbol of hope and represents the beautiful coastal regions of Madagascar.

Flag of Madagascar: The Presidential Standard

This flag is composed of two horizontal stripes, the upper one red and the lower one green. To the left is a verticle band of white. In the center, sits the nation Seal of Madagascar.

The seal is a yellow circle with a map of the island in red directly in the middle. Below that is the head of a zebu (domesticated humped cattle). The colors red, green, yellow, black, and white are used. Green and red rays are shining outward from the map, like a sun. This sun-ray pattern is also a symbol of the Ravenala plant of Madagascar.

This presidential standard also has meaning behind it – the colors represent sovereignty and justice, while the emblem represents strength and determination in protecting their liberty and national pride.

Independence Day in Madagascar

Madagascar celebrates its Independence Day on June 26th, the same day that it declared independence from France in 1960. On this special day, people around the country come together to celebrate their national holiday and remember the struggles of their ancestors who fought for freedom.

People take part in various activities such as parades, flag-raising ceremonies, and speeches by local politicians or dignitaries. Cultural events are organized around the nation, including traditional music and dance performances. Many citizens wear clothing with the Madagascan colors of red, white, and green to express pride in their country during these celebrations. Citizens sing the national anthem proudly throughout Madagascar on Independence Day as a reminder of how far they have come since gaining independence all those years ago.

Martyr’s Day in Madagascar

Martyr’s Day is a national holiday in Madagascar, celebrated on March 29th of every leap year. It honors all who have suffered during the country’s long struggle for independence.

On this day, people gather together to sing national anthems and listen to speeches about the history of Madagascar and what it means to be Malagasy. Parades march through towns waving flags of different colors as bands play traditional music from around the country.

During these festivals, food stalls line up selling delicious snacks like sambos, while vendors sell souvenirs such as postcards depicting famous landmarks or small sculptures made out of local materials like wood or stone. Martyr’s Day provides an opportunity for all citizens across Madagascar to come together and celebrate their shared culture and identity, a reminder that despite its turbulent past, there is much beauty still alive throughout the country today.

What is the National Anthem of Madagascar?

The National Anthem of Madagascar is also known as “Ry Tanindraza nay malala o!” (“Oh Our Beloved Fatherland!”). This song is the official national anthem used during ceremonial occasions such as state visits. The lyrics are mainly about praising Madagascar’s beauty and encouraging citizens to love their nation.

The main chorus of the song is:

Bless, oh Creator,

This island of our ancestors

May it know joy and happiness

And may we be truly happy

What is the National Motto of Madagascar?

The National Motto of Madagascar, “Love, Fatherland, Progress,” encapsulates the core values that unite all Malagasy people. Love is an essential part of relationships in Madagascar and is a cornerstone for strong social ties throughout the country. The concept of fatherland carries heavy cultural significance and represents the importance placed on loyalty to one’s homeland. Lastly, progress stands as a reminder that Madagascar should strive to continuously move toward greater prosperity in all areas of life. This motto serves as an inspiring call to action for citizens across this beautiful island nation.


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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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