Pump Aid Malawi’s Monitoring and Evaluation officers Mebbie Gwirima and Henderson Kadammanja tell us what it’s like in Malawi at Christmas time!
Over 80% of Malawi’s population are Christian and just like in many other parts of the world, Christmas is one of the days people always look forward to in Malawi. The Christmas frenzy in the towns creates a huge buzz as scores of people are busy buying gifts for friends and family in the capital’s shopping outlets!
The Traditional Malawian Christmas dinner is rice and chicken, served with a range of locally available dishes. On Christmas day, Nsima which is Malawi’s staple food, is usually absent on many tables, with even the poorest in Malawi trying their best to provide rice served with chicken, or at least beef or goat meat. To wash it all down, people brew numerous varieties of local beer in their villages, like Thobwa (a local sweet beer).
The most popular beverage on Christmas Day is Fanta!
On Christmas morning, people dress smartly for the morning church service, and the Christmas story is re-enacted by the local children. In some urban churches, celebrations start on the Christmas Eve with the singing of Christmas carols (in both Chichewa and English depending of the location and preference of the church).
The family Christmas film is not exclusive to the UK!
After the Christmas service it’s time to get your dancing shoes on! In rural areas some celebrate with traditional Malawian dances performed for the entire community. Others go to local trading centres where people dance and listen to music. Many in Malawi travel to cinemas to watch the latest films with their families.
In many parts of the country in the villages and towns, people get together perform in ‘V- shows’ (variety shows) where young people showcase different talents like singing and dancing, this normally ends with a disco.
Those with resources (particularly in urban areas), arrange for holidays in popular tourist destinations and others host parties at their homes. Some make it a point to travel back from the cities to their home villages to celebrate Christmas with their family and friends, bringing back gifts for them. Those more fortunate provide meals for people in the poorer communities, spreading the Christmas spirit well beyond their own families and friends. In Malawi, Christmas doesn’t end until December 31st, when communities and families come together to ring in the new year!
(Above: Henderson Kadammanja, far right, with the local WASH
committee members and caregivers to the village preschool)