Previously, during major holidays such as Independence Day in Madagascar, children had fun playing a traditional game called “tsikonina”. This game, which was an integral part of the culture of Madagascar, allowed them to discover the richness of Malagasy cuisine. Outside the village, on an improvised playground, children used miniatures of adults' kitchen utensils to prepare their own meals.
The “tsikonina” was much more than just a game for children. It was an opportunity for them to learn to cook like the grown-ups., to become independent and express yourself through cooking. They could choose the ingredients they wanted to include in their meal, while respecting the preparation techniques and procedures transmitted by their parents.
The children were eager to play “tsikonina” and asked their parents to provide them with the necessary ingredients. It was a moment of joy when the mother prepared all the requested ingredients, or when children had the opportunity to make their own purchases from local merchants. They went to the butcher to choose a few hundred grams of meat, then to the market gardener to select fresh vegetables. These small races were an enriching experience for the children, reinforcing their sense of responsibility and their learning of the value of food.
The game of “tsikonina” was imbued with traditions and culinary know-how passed down from generation to generation. The children worked diligently to prepare the meal., by following the actions and advice of their mother. They reproduced the flavors and techniques of Malagasy cuisine, thus contributing to the preservation of this cultural heritage.
Sadly, with the advent of modern games and economic pressure on families, the practice of “tsikonina” gradually decreased. Children have turned to more technological entertainment, and financial constraints have limited accessibility to the necessary ingredients. This evolution has led to a gradual loss of this traditional playful activity within Malagasy culture..
However, it is important to recognize the importance of cuisine in the culture of Madagascar and to preserve these culinary traditions. Games such as “tsikonina” are valuable means of transmitting the knowledge and values associated with Malagasy cuisine. They allow children to connect to their cultural heritage, to develop their creativity and sense of responsibility, while discovering the unique flavors of Madagascar cuisine.
By encouraging the practice of “tsikonina” and by promoting the cuisine of Madagascar, we can preserve this cultural wealth and pass on the pleasure of cooking to new generations, respect for traditions and love for Malagasy gastronomy.