French is the official language, but Bambara (or Bamanakan in the language itself), along with numerous other African languages (Peulh/Fula, Dogon, and Tamashek, the language of the Tuareg people), are spoken by 80% of the population. Few people speak French outside bigger towns, and even Bambara gets rare in some regions. Very few people speak English.
Festivals & Events
|January 1||New Year's Day|
|January 20||Army Day|
|March 26||Martyrs' Day|
|March or April||Easter Monday|
|May 1||Workers' Day|
|May 25||Africa Day|
|September 22||Independence Day|
|December 25||Christmas Day|
|variable Islamic||Prophet's Birthday|
|End of Ramadan|
|Feast of the Sacrifice|
Greeting people is very important. You should get familiar with the greetings in French or, better, in Bambara. Vendors should be treated in a proper way, even when you buy just fruit or bread. It is very important to show a general interest in the other person, so ask about family, work, kids, and so on. The answer is simple: "Ça va" (It's all right). The interlocutor should not answer in a negative way!
- "Bonjour. ça va?" (Good morning. Are you all right)?
- "Et votre famille?" (And your family?)
- "Et vos enfants?" (And your kids?)
- "Et votre travail?" (And your job?).