The Christmas period in Kenya is a time when relatives try to meet up and celebrate together.
You can easily spot the cheery as people travel all around the country, especially from the cities to the villages to join the major part of their family in the celebrations.
Christmas time is treated as a time where most of the family members get a chance to meet each other all year; hence, it is considered as very essential.
Individuals usually try to be settled in their homes on Christmas Eve, in order to help in the preparation of the actual day of Christmas.
Churches and houses are usually decorated with freely accessible and attractive items such as ribbons, flamboyant balloons, and attractive green leaves.
You could also stumble across a customized Christmas tree, made out of Cyprus tree!
Kenyans do not recognize a Santa who arrives on a reindeer in their homeland, but Santa might as well emerge from a land-rover, bike or camel.
Christmas Mass and Services
Most people, mainly Christians will attend the midnight service on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
The mass or service is accompanied with Christmas carols and hymns, and nativity plays as well as dances and songs.
People usually go home after the night service or stay in Church to join in the carol singing moments. Other people choose to go attend the Christmas mass or service on the Christmas morning.
Prevalent Christmas delicacies in Kenya include a barbecue which could be a chicken, goat, sheep, pork or beef.
These barbecues are usually accompanied with the chapatti flatbread or rice.
The most recognized Christmas meal is referred to as ‘nyama choma’, which translates to roasted meet.
Some individuals usually brew their beer that will be drunk through the Christmas period.
Kenya also has different tribes, and hence the customs and the unique dishes that are prepared depending on the tribe.
Those in the city can take the western Christmas cake, but this practice is not very common in the rural villages.
Exchange of Gifts
The people usually exchange small gifts, and some people donate various items including food, clothes and other gifts to the missionary organizations or any other charitable organization.
Kenyans also recognize Boxing Day, which is on the day after Christmas and this is as well considered an official public holiday.
You could choose to continue with the celebrations, visit friends and family or even sleep!
Common Phrases to Wish Merry Christmas
In Kiswahili (a common language in Kenya), Merry/Happy Christmas is referred to as ‘Heri ya Krismasi‘, and the response is ‘Wewe pia‘- which means and also you. It is interesting to know how people wish Happy or Merry Christmas in other languages.
Main Points About Christmas in Kenya
- In Kenya, for Christmas, it is typical for people working in the cities to travel to the villages to spend Christmas with their loved ones.
- Christmas trees and other decorations are not well invested like they are in the west. More often, houses and churches are decorated with colorful balloons, paper decorations, ribbons, green leaves, and flowers.
- Instead of the traditional Christmas trees, cypress trees, thorn trees, or other local evergreens are used.
- For the Kenyans, Christmas is a time to spend with family, merrymaking and an extraordinary quantity of alcohol.
- In urban areas, it is very common to find singers or bands going from house to caroling.
A time to spend with family and many people travel to see their relatives during this time.
Instead of a Christmas tree, some families will have a Cyprus tree and in the cities, you might find fake snow outside the stores, and don’t be surprised if Santa shows up on a camel, bike or by Land-rover!
After church service families will enjoy the evening together, often staying up all night to celebrate.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Kenya
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Kenya. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.