What Are Kenya’s Christmas Traditions? : In mostly Christian Kenya, Christmas is one of the biggest holidays, celebrated annually by families all over the country. Read on to learn everything there is to know about the most beloved Christmas customs, decorations, cuisine, and tales in Kenya if you’re visiting for the holiday and looking for ways to take part in the festivities.
In Kenyan, how do you say “Merry Christmas”?
In Kenya, where numerous ethnic groups with distinct languages are spoken, there isn’t a single method to wish someone a Merry Christmas. English and Swahili are the official languages of Kenya.
“Heri ya Krismasi,” which means “Merry Christmas” in Swahili, is pronounced “HAY-ri yah KRISS-mah-see.” The appropriate response to this is “Wewe pia,” which is pronounced “WUH PEE-uh” and means “also you.”
What is the Kenyan version of Santa’s story?
Santa is referred to as “Father Christmas” in Kenya. With a thick white beard and a red velvet outfit trimmed in white fur, he resembles the Santa Claus that visits youngsters in North America and Europe. His tale is the same as that of other regions of the world.
Santa doesn’t arrive in a sleigh drawn by reindeer in Kenya because there isn’t typically any snow here. Rather, he operates a vehicle or Range Rover. Santa occasionally travels by bicycle or even on a camel!
In Kenya’s cities, where a lot of malls feature a Christmas Village where kids may visit Santa and his elves, the Father Christmas custom is increasingly prevalent. This is a less well-known tradition in rural communities.
How is Christmas celebrated in Kenya?
Kenyans observes December 25 as a public holiday. The majority of companies, offices, and schools close for the day. This makes it possible for Kenyans to spend the holiday with their families in their hometowns. In preparation for Christmas, a lot of people travel to more isolated villages outside of larger towns. Because of this, traffic bottlenecks are typical on December 24 and can occasionally last for hours.
Christmas Eve is usually when Kenyans start celebrating Christmas. Christmas church services are attended by a large number of Kenyans, who enjoy the preaching, sing-alongs, poetry readings, and dance performances.
Christmas Eve in Kenya
In Kenya, one of the most popular Christmas customs is watching nativity plays. Youngsters frequently act them out, playing the parts of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the Magi. These performances can be seen at different times in the days preceding Christmas, but most churches include them in their midnight church services.
People return home after the church service and start the celebrations, which could involve any or all of the following.
What Are Kenya’s Christmas Traditions : Carolling
Traditional English carols are sung by carillonists as they visit houses, but Swahili-language Christmas music are also available. One of the most well-known is “Christmas na Kimangu,” also known as “Christmas Mystery,” a happy song that tells the story of Jesus’ birth.
Giving little cash payments to carollers as a thank you for singing the Christmas hymns is a ritual. In keeping with the spirit of Christmas giving, the singers give this money to the nearby church on Christmas Day.
What Are Kenya’s Christmas Traditions : Vigils
In observance of the holidays, a lot of individuals in Kenya perform nightly vigils. People light candles during the vigils to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas carol singing is a popular pastime at these lovely events.
What Are Kenya’s Christmas Traditions : Dancing
Families play instruments or play recorded music, drink beer or coffee, and dance in between the carol singers.
What Are Kenya’s Christmas Traditions : Exchanges of gifts
Rather than exchanging gifts first thing on Christmas Day, most people do so after church on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day and Boxing Day in Kenya
On Christmas Eve, a lot of Kenyans celebrate by staying up late. Occasionally they go to church once more in the morning and then take a quick snooze. The family then starts preparing the Christmas meal, called nyama choma. If you are invited to a nyama Choma, show up when the host indicates that the meal will be served. Arriving early is seen as impolite and could be interpreted as an effort to get the chef to serve you faster.
After dinner, Kenyans usually spend a few hours chatting and spending time together. It’s likely that your host will accompany you when it’s time to leave. They might accompany you for a quarter or perhaps half of your trip home if you arrive on foot. It’s customary to wave guests off rather than say goodbye at the door.
In Kenya, December 26, popularly known as Boxing Day, is a public holiday. The day isn’t for shopping like it is in several other nations because the majority of companies stay closed. Rather, following the chaos of the holiday, Kenyans take advantage of the chance to unwind with their loved ones.
Which meals are popular in Kenya around Christmas?
In Kenya, the most traditional Christmas meal is barbecue. Chicken, beef, sheep, and grilled goat meat are the main portions of the large Christmas meal, known as nyama choma. Families raise and butcher their own animals outside of major cities, going to considerable lengths to select the best animal for the feast.
The most popular accompaniment is rice. Large families typically partake in freshly baked chapati, an unleavened flatbread, and make their own local beer to go with the holiday feast in many Kenyan households. Dessert usually comes last at Christmas feasts in cities. Sweets typically take their cues from international holiday cuisine. Particularly well-liked are cake and custard. Kenyans who live in rural areas typically don’t have dessert after their meals because the components are viewed as luxury products.
How are the holidays decorated in Kenya?
Kenyans frequently adorn their urban churches and homes with balloons, homemade paper decorations, green leaves, flowers, and ribbons. Large outdoor light displays are uncommon in Kenya, despite the fact that electric string lights are frequently used within retail malls for decoration.
In rural places, Christmas decorations of any type are rare.
What gifts do Kenyans give to one another on holidays?
In Kenya, one of the most popular Christmas presents is clothing. On Christmas Eve, new clothes are frequently given as presents to both adults and kids. After that, they flaunt their new attire at the Christmas Day dinner. Families all around Kenya frequently employ photographers to get group photos of themselves all decked out for the holidays.
When it comes to gift-giving, Kenyans follow certain rules and customs. First, when invited to a Kenyan home for a holiday celebration, bring a small gift. Second, flowers or tea are the most common host and hostess gifts in cities. Third, gifts of flour, coffee, sugar, and maize are appreciated in rural areas. Fourth, gifts in woven bags called “kiondo.” Fifth, Kenyans in urban areas may exchange gifts beyond clothing, but in rural areas, additional presents are usually only small gifts that people can use on a daily basis. In some regions, missionary groups give locals gifts of food, toiletries, and toys.