Malawi’s many festivals showcase the country’s traditions and religion through music, art and dance. The best-known event internationally is the Lake of Stars, an annual four-day music festival attracting thousands of overseas visitors every October. Other important celebrations relate to the state itself, with Republic Day one of the favorites.
The Chilimike celebrations are Malawi’s New Year festivities, enjoyed on January 1 as a public holiday. As in the rest of Africa, the revelry begins on New Year’s Eve with street parties, traditional music, fireworks and lots of eating and drinking.
Martyrs Day is held annually on March 3, which commemorates those who lost their lives during the struggle for independence which began with the uprising against British colonial rule.
Christianity is the dominant religion in Malawi, with Holy Week its major festival. Held in March/April depending on the Gregorian calendar, the period is marked by processions and church services, and Good Friday and Easter Monday both public holidays.
Malawians are very proud of their comparatively new country, with Kamuzu Day in May a celebration of the life and work of their first President, Dr. Kamuzu Banda.
Held in July, Republic Day is a national holiday for Malawi people to celebrate its emergence as a democratic republic on July 6, 1964.
Malapenga Dance Season
Beginning in August, the Malapenga Dance Season is a traditional celebration of one of Malawi’s most iconic dance forms. Exhibitions take place all over and are some of the most-loved demonstrations of the country's rich heritage.
Lake of Stars Festival
Held along the shore of Lake Malawi in October, this spectacular four-day event is featured on the global music festival calendar, showcasing both Malawian artists and international guest bands with styles ranging from reggae, Afropop and traditional folk to famous global DJs. Proceeds are donated to local charities.
Blantyre Arts Festival
This newly created event takes place every November in Malawi’s largest city and showcases traditional and modern theatre, dance, poetry and the visual arts in venues across the area.
The Christmas season in Malawi is a joyful time for families, gift exchange and church services. Carols are sung a-capella, with the iconic African gift of harmonization filling the air with beautiful sounds celebrating the birth of Christ.