Why Malagasy Women Paint Their Faces

/
/
Why Malagasy Women Paint Their Faces

When you are on your dream holiday in Madagascar look out for the Malagasy with women with beautifully painted faces and bright traditional clothes who will surely bring a smile to your face, and don’t be too shy to ask for a picture. In Madagascar it is not only the flora and fauna that is both unique and intriguing but the people as well. There are so many customs and traditions that are particular to the country, stirred together from a melting pot of cultures that span Africa, Asia, and even Europe. Travellers to the country may be surprised to see women walking around with beautifully painted faces and wonder whether there is a festival that they were unaware of, or whether it is a connection to a specific tribe or group. The patterns and area of the face covered may vary but one thing remains consistent: the colours of the paint. Why is this so? What is it made of and why do they do it? Read below to find out more about Madagascar face paint.

Some Malagasy women paint their faces with beautiful patterns or flower designs in white and yellow paint that provides a stunning contrast to their dark skin. It is a custom associated with the women of the Sakalava tribe. The Vezo women the southern coastal areas of Madagascar paint their faces as well, the Vezo tribe is considered a subset of the Sakalava group.

The “paint” is actually made from a special type of wood, specifically the bark of a tree that is ground into powder and then mixed into a paste. These elaborate patterns aren’t merely decorative but also are applied to protect the skin from the damage of the sun as well as ward off insects such as mosquitoes. It is also believed to make your skin more beautiful, much like a face masque or cream would. The mask is known as Masonjaony. The custom is also a common occurrence in the nearby Comoros islands and it is said to have originated there.

When you are on your dream holiday in Madagascar look out for the Malagasy with women with beautifully painted faces and bright traditional clothes who will surely bring a smile to your face, and don’t be too shy to ask for a picture.

We are a leading safari tour operator that provides world-class guided group tours and tailor-made packages throughout Southern Africa, East Africa, and Madagascar, ensuring unique wildlife experiences.

Build Your Trip

With the power to specify your travel dates, the number of travelers in your party, and your preferred destinations, we’ve made it incredibly convenient for our travel consultants to curate the perfect expedition for you.

Lions, Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park or Hwange?

Two iconic African national parks with two distinct characters bare their souls to be chosen as the favourite Southern African safari destination. Both bucket list destinations, the choice is hard to make. Each park emanates a completely unique African essence, and depending on what you

Mogotlho Walking safaris

The BEST Walking Safaris in ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe, famous for Victoria Falls and Cecil the Lion, is becoming a popular walking safaris destination. The country, wedged between Botswana and Mozambique, is a dream destination for walking safaris. Why’s that? It’s got dreamy landscapes (as different as the sun and moon), highly-trained guides,

Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya

Second only on the African continent to the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya registers its height at a staggering 5 199-metres. Mount Kenya lies in the Kenyan highlands, about 150 km from Nairobi in Kenya. Perched upon a now extinct volcano, the Mountain has two peaks,

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

The History of Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe’s majestic Victoria Falls is one of the world’s 7 Natural Wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage site. While the breath-taking falls are neither the widest nor the highest in the world, when the river is in full flow it does form the largest cascading

Need Help?

Get in touch with our experienced consultants, dedicated to curating your ideal African safari. Let us guide you towards the perfect destination, ensuring your trip is nothing short of extraordinary.

JENMAN African Safaris

Stay Connected