Arabaina! Tratra ny Taona

Happy New Year!


We party hard in the Avaratra. New Year’s Day is the biggest day of the year. People started asking me what my New Year’s Day plans were in October. Kind of like when my Aunt Annie asks for Christmas lists before Halloween ūüôā

I spent my first New Year’s in Madagascar with my friend and colleague Kodostia and her husband’s extended family. Like Christmas in the States, New Year’s is a time for family to travel to the countryside to be together. We spent the morning cooking and, like every Malgasy meal, there was a healthy abundance of rice.

Kodotsia cooking¬†tsakytsaky¬†(snacks to eat with beer…in this case, fried chicken)

In the midst of all the cooking, loud Saleki music blared from gigantic speakers and kids, babies and grownups all danced together. It reminded me of being in the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, drinking coffee with Bailey’s and dancing to “Alice’s restaurant” with my dad and sisters and niece and grandmother and dogs…excitement.¬†

Gettin’ down!

The mid-morning meal was rice, mango salad and fried chicken, which I obligingly ate. We sat with dadylahy (grandpa), a few uncles and the eldest sister. As we sat down to eat, Kodotsia’s sister-in-law looks at me and says:

Melanie, milia mihina BE.

Which means Melanie, you need to eat A LOT.

I tried my best. But the rice defeated me.


eating, eating, eating!


The rest of the day consisted of much dancing, drinking, and again, eating. It’s the only day of the year I’ve experienced so far where everyone, literally¬†everyone,¬†is celebrating.

Happy New Year from Northern Madagascar.



Author: melbell51

Aspiring travel writer and slow nomad.

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