The dead are sometimes described as "gods on earth”
Christians have their dead blessed at a church before burying them
Some Malagasy Christians will even say that the dead have become Christians themselves and continue to be the arbiters of right and wrong
Holidays http://www.marktheday.com/nationholidays/madagascar.aspx The first of January is New Year's Day. Memorial Day is celebrated 29 March for those who died in the French Malagasy War of 1949. International Women's Day, when women are honored for their contributions, is 30 March. The third Thursday in May is Labor Day, an important holiday for workers. The unity of the Organization of United African Countries is celebrated on 25 May. Madagascar's independence from France in 1960 is celebrated on 26 June. The Celebration of the Dead is held on 1 November and is a day devoted to ancestors and their burial grounds that can involve the building of elaborate tombs. The Anniversary of the II Republic, which began in 1975, is celebrated on 30 December.
Burial tombs are a prominent feature of the landscape
The ceremony of famadihana is an opportunity to reaffirm one's link with ancestors. Sometimes after many years of planning, the bones are removed from the tomb, wrapped in a new shroud, and transferred to the ancestral tomb. At that time the family decides whether to place the bones in the tomb of the mother or the father depending on group allegiance regarding descent.
Ancestral spirits are regarded as intermediaries between the living and either of the two supreme gods. The dead are viewed as having the power to affect the lives of the living. They are considered the most important members of the family, influencing lives on a day-to-day basis. Razana (ancestors) are the pulse of the life force and the creators of customs ( fomba ).
Ancestral tombs are considered sacred places— particularly royal tombs. In the northwest, as elsewhere in the country, sacred places are abundant. Most villages have a sacred tree or other sacred place nearby
Ethnic tensions in Madagascar often produce violent conflict between the highlanders and coastal peoples. The Merina people in particular are often the targets of violence especially during political campaigns to elect a new president