Martyrs’ Day in Madagascar
As is the case with many countries around the world, Madagascar has a holiday known as Martyrs’ Day. It’s a day that memorializes all of those who died in the 1947 Revolt against the French. This is a public holiday that’s observed annually on March 29th and is a day off for the general public. This holiday goes by a number of other things as well including Insurrection Day and Commemoration Day.
Since this holiday is a time to remember those who sacrificed themselves for their country, this holiday is celebrated in a number of different ways. Some people spend time with family, and some people attend one of the many parades that can be seen on this day.
The History Of Martyrs’ Day In Madagascar
At the beginning of the 19th century, Madagascar was one country and was called the Kingdom of Madagascar. This changed when Britain and France both viewed the nation as a strategic location. France would invade the country in 1883, and by 1897 they had imposed colonial rule.
During WWII, the Vichy government of France fought the British for control of the country during the Battle of Madagascar, and the island was seized by the British. The island was then placed under Free French control, but the damage had already been done. Many people on the island wanted to be independent of France and this would lead to the Malagasy Uprising of 1947.
When the nationalist political party was unable to convince the French to accept their independence, a series of attacks by the nationalists were launched against the French on March 29, 1947. In May of 1947, troops that were dispatched from France landed on Madagascar and crushed the rebellion. It’s said that as many as 100,000 Malagasy were casualties of this repression of the uprising. And it’s why this holiday is observed every year.
Observing Martyrs’ Day In Madagascar
On this holiday there are wreath-laying ceremonies, memorial services, and other events to memorialize the lives that were lost in 1947. It’s also a day off for the public, and many government buildings, schools, and businesses are closed.