By Serah Chilora
The rise in cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of this month has polluted the usual merry mood that used to characterise the festive season in cities and homes for the past years before the pandemic.
Today, Christians all over the world are celebrating Christmas, a day marking the birth of Jesus Christ who they believe is their lord and saviour.
Before the pandemic, people would travel for vacations to different tourist destinations while organisations would host bashes and families would host parties celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
Ten-year-old Tazirwa Nkhonde who resides in Blantyre Namiwawa said he has always loved Christmas because it means family time, new clothes and all sorts of fun.
However, he said since last year he is not allowed to go to church and friends-hosted parties because of the pandemic.
“My parents told my sister and I that we should celebrate our Christmas at home because of the virus. We are sad but we know it is for the best. We miss the Christmas season, we would go to class parties when schools close, even having a lot of family members in one spot to celebrate,” he said.
Fenia Banda, a resident of Zingwangwa, Blantyre describes this season as mellow and less exciting than how it was back in the days.
“Except for the rising prices of different commodities in the country over the years but Covid-19 has made the celebrations dull. Ordinarily, I used to prepare special meals in my household, I used to buy my children new clothes just for celebrations but now we cannot even get together because we have to be extra careful because of the virus,” she said.
Pastor Zac Kawalala, General Overseer and Senior Pastor of Word Alive, said despite the pandemic, his church will conduct a service today morning.
“We are celebrating Christmas just like we have done every year, we have services just as we have done over the years. We should remember the reason for the season, it is not a time for merry making in the wrong way, this is the time to celebrate our saviour in the manner that will please him,” he said.
Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda earlier in the week said as people will be celebrating during festive season, they should adhere to set Covid-19 preventive measures, stressing that that they have written all law enforcement agencies to assist on the same.
As of December 23, the country had registered 1,192 new Covid-19 cases and two new deaths.
Willy Kambwandira, Centre for Social Concern Executive Director, said the mood is telling that the pandemic has changed the way Malawians celebrate Christmas, as there is not the much needed joy across the country.
“People have lost jobs, cost of living has risen and lots of restrictions. But my message to Malawians is that they should remain positive, and government should quickly move to address the challenges that people are facing. It is very important that those in power should be seen to share the pain and hardships with citizens,” he said.
President Lazarus Chakwera wished Malawians a Merry Christmas and happy New Year when he launched the K580 billion two-year social economic recovery plan.