Christmas celebrations in Malawi bring joy, economic challenges for families
It’s Christmas time, and all the roads leading to the main cities of Malawi are filled with families in high spirits, on their way to do their holiday shopping.
Malawi: It’s Christmas time, and all the roads leading to the main cities of Malawi are filled with families in high spirits, on their way to do their holiday shopping, writes Jorge Thawe.
For many, Christmas is a time for buying new clothes for their children and having a special meal, often consisting of rice and chicken with Fanta.
"To us, Christmas means being together as a family and doing things together," said Joseph Banda.
"Even though we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, it's also a special time for us to spend with our loved ones."
However, for some in the cities, the high prices of rice and chicken can make Christmas feel like just any other day.
"I can't afford to buy rice at K1500 per kg or chicken at K6500," said Malivasi Masitala.
"So Christmas doesn't feel very special to me."
The high demand for chicken during the holiday season has caused prices to rise, according to Themba Phiri, a vendor at the Kawale market in Lilongwe.
"Almost every parent wants to have a special meal for their family, so the demand is very high," Phiri explained.
"That's why we've had to raise the price of chickens from K5000 to K6500."
While many businesses in Malawi tend to lower their prices on their products during the Christmas period, the market can still dictate higher prices for certain items.
"We are in business, and our pricing strategy follows the behaviour of the market," Phiri said.
"The higher the demand, the higher the price for that product."
On Christmas Day, Malawians typically begin the day with a short church service, before returning home to continue celebrations with their families.
Christmas is a worldwide holiday, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ and is observed by billions of people around the globe.
It is a public holiday in many countries and is celebrated by both Christians and non-Christians alike.
The first recorded celebration of Christmas on December 25th took place in 336 during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine, who was the first Christian Roman Emperor.
While the reasons for celebrating Christmas on this date are varied and debated, it has become an integral part of the holiday season.