Before You Go

Malawi Event Calendar

January

Chilimika

When: 1-5 January

Where: Nkhata Bay, Northern Region

Chilimika means ‘year’ in Chewa.

The Chilimika dance welcomes the arrival 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: Nationwide

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

April

 May

Kamuzu day

When: 14 May

Where: Nationwide

A public holiday to honour Hastings 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 August

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 form 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 ia an annual three-day international festival held on the shore of Lake Malawi. It seeks to promote Malawi’s creative industries, culture and tourism.

October

Mzuzu Fashion Week

When: First week of October

Where: Mzuzu

Mzuzu Fashion Week is Malawi’s annual Fashion Event.

It is a platform for local and national designers to showcase their work and encourage the growth of the textile industry in Malawi.

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 art 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.

 

Public Holidays 2021

No. Date Holiday
1 January 1 New Year’s Day
2 January 15 John Chilembwe Day
3 March 3 Martyrs’ Day
4 April 2 Good Friday
5 April 3 Holy Saturday
6 April 5 Easter Monaday
7 May 1-3 Labour Day
8 May 14 Kamzu Day
9 May 13-14 Eid al Fitr
10 July 6 Independence Day
11 October 15 Mother’s Day
12 December 25 Christmas Day
13 December 26 Boxing Day