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Malawi Event Calendar

Malawi Event Calendar

January

Chilimika
  • When: 1-5 January
  • Where: Nkhata Bay, Northern Region

Chilimika means ‘year’ in Chewa. The Chilimika dance welcomes the arrivals of a new year and is celebrated mainly by the Tonga tribe in the northern region of Malawi. The festival usually consists of young people dancing for the older generation in their communities.

Chilembwe day
  • When: 15 January
  • Where: Nationwide

In 1915, during the First World War, the Reverend John Chilembwe organised an unsuccessful uprising against colonial rule. Today, Malawi sets aside 15 January each year to celebrate the life of Chilembwe, who has become a national hero.

February

 

 March

Martyrs’day
  • When: 3 March
  • Where: Nkhata Bay

This national holiday commemorates the lives of the individuals who play a role in Malawi’s struggle for independence from the British colonial regime on 3 March 1959.

April

 

May

Kamuzu day
  • When: 14 May
  • Where: Nationwide

A public holiday to honour Hasting Kamuzu Banda on his official birthday. Often regarded as the father and founder of the nation, Banda was the country’s first president. He led Malawi to independence and ruled the country for over 30 years.

June

Luwawa International Mountain Bike Challenge
  • When: Second weekend of June
  • Where: Luwawa Forest

Although it varies, the route usually starts at Luwawa Forest Lodge and runs along the ridges of the Viphya Mountains. There are fine views throughout the course, with plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife.

Lake Malawi Sailing Marathon
  • When: End of June to beginning of July (Six days)
  • Where: Lake Malawi

First held in 1984, the Lake Malawi Sailing Marathon is an epic test of speed, endurance and sheer destination. It is also an opportunity to experience Malawi from a perspective witnessed by only a few. Many sailors return annually to Lake Malawi to take part.

July

Mount Mulanje Porters’ Race
  • When: First week of July
  • Where: Likhubula, Mulanje

The 25km Porters’ Race is one of the Malawi’s most extreme competitions, attracting elite runners form across the world. Participants ascend to Chambe Plateau, about 2,500metres above sea level, then to Lichenya in less than three hours.

National Independence Day
  • When: 6 July
  • Where: Rotates regionally

This day commemorates Malawi’s independence from the confederation in 1964.

August

Kungoni open day
  • When: First Saturday of the month
  • Where: Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art at Mua, Dedza

Held in memory of Father Jean-Baptiste Champmartin, to whom the museum at Mua is dedicated, this festival brings together drummers, singers and dancers from the surrounding village. The centre is run by a Canadian Catholic priest, who has built an impressive museum of the Chewa, Ngoni, Yao, and Matengo cultures of the area.

Umthetho
  • When: Second Saturday of August
  • Where: Hora Mountain, Mzimba

Umthetho, which means ‘custom’ or ‘governance’ in Chewa, is celebrated by the Ngoni. It promotes conventional governance, heritage and traditions.

Kulamba
  • When: Last Saturday of August
  • Where: Katete, Zambia

Kalamba is a celebration of the Chewa people to pay tribute to Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi through traditional dances and the presentation of gifts.

September

National Tourism Month
  • When: 1-30 September
  • Where: Rotates

This celebration aims to create awareness of the importance of tourism as well as its social, cultural, political and economic value. Various local events are held throughout the month.

Cape Maclear Triathlon
  • When: Third weekend of September
  • Where Cape Maclear, Mangochi
Gonapamuhanya
  • When: Last weekend of September
  • Where: Bolero, Rumphi

Held by the Tumbukas to celebrate their heritage and Chikulamayembe Dynasty, this ceremony consists of the oral tradition of recounting the Chikuramayembe lineage and dance performances.

Lake of Stars
  • When: Last weekend of September
  • Where: Rotates along the beaches of Lake Malawi

Lake of Stars seeks to promote Malawi’s creative industries, culture and tourism.

October

Mzuzu Fashion Week
  • When: First week of October
  • Where: Mzuzu
Blantyre Arts Festival
  • When: First weekend of October
  • Where: Blantyre Cultural Centre

Blantyre Arts Festival celebrates Malawi’s cultural industries through exhibitions and workshops with arts practitioners and cultural exchange programmes.

Mulhakho wa Alhomwe
  • When: Sunday closest to the 25th
  • Where: Chonde, Mulanje

This festival marks the heritage of the Lhomwe people. It features an array of events including traditional dance performances, recitations of oral traditions and culinary displays.

Likoma Festival
  • When: Second week of October
  • Where: Likoma and Chizumulu islands

The annual Likoma Festival is a contemporary celebration of arts and culture with a strong focus on artists and traditional dances from Malawi.

November

 

December

 

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Public Holiday

No. Date Holiday  Remarks
1 January 1 New Year’s Day
2 January 15 John Chilembwe Day January 15 or following Monday
3 March 3 Martyrs’ Day March 3 or following Monday
4 March 20 Good Friday Friday before Easter Sunday
5 April 2 Easter Monday Monday after Easter Sunday
6 May 1 Labour Day International Workers Day
7 May 14 Kamuzu Day May 14 or following Monday
8 June 15 Eid ul-Fitr End of Ramadan
9 July 6 Independence Day July 6 or following Monday
10 October 15 Mother’s Day World Rural Women’s Day
11 December 25 Christmas Day
12 December 26 Boxing Day