Christmas is kept up in a big way in Madagascar every 25 December, but it differs somewhat from what people in the West are used to.
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Western decorations are put up, even ones depicting snow, which is nowhere found in Madagascar. Small presents only are exchanged. And there is much less commercialisation of Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, around 5pm, Christians head to church and some stay there all the way till midnight. At this Christmas Eve service, there are sometimes songs and plays put on by children. Again on Christmas Day religious people head to church.
On Christmas Day, large family gatherings take place. People don their best attire, feast on chicken, pork, rice, Christmas cake, and fresh lychees.
You’ll see poinsettias growing all year round in Madagascar, not just at Christmastime. And people may greet even perfect strangers with a loud, cheerful “Merry Christmas!”