Celebrating Public Holidays In Kenya

There are several Public Holidays in Kenya. Most of them are annual international and national public holidays, which occur on particular fixed dates of the month.

Others like Easter and Idi-el-fitr occur on irregular dates and times of the year. These are determined by different factors.

Annual Kenyan Public Holidays

  • New Year’s Day (1 January)
  • Easter (Good Friday to Easter Monday)
  • Labour Day (1May)
  • Madaraka Day (1June)
  • Idi-el-fitr (Muslim Religious Holiday)
  • Heroes Day (Formerly Kenyatta Day) 20 October
  • Jamhuri Day (Kenya's Independence Day) 12 December
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Boxing Day (26 December)

National public holidays in Kenya are Madaraka Day – 1 June, Heroes Day (Formerly Kenyatta Day) 20 October, Jamhuri Day (Independence Day) 12 December.

International public holidays observed in Kenya are Christmas and Boxing Days (25 & 26 December). Others are New Year’s Day (January 1); Easter holiday (Friday to Monday); and Labor Day (May 1); Id-el-fitr.

Women serving Kenya Food in an event

Religious Public Holidays In Kenya

Christmas is a Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s marked on December 25th every calendar year.

Christmas in Africa is big. It’s the most popular and biggest holiday in Kenya.

This is in line with most of the companies closing work for the holidays. They give about a two week Christmas holiday to their staff.

X-mas comes back-to-back with Boxing Day (26 December). This is followed closely by the New Year’s Day, which comes five days after Christmas, on 1st January.

Easter is celebrated by Christians who mark Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Monday.

Easter is the second most popular and long holiday in Kenya.

This makes it ideal for a long weekend holiday getaway.

Idi-el-fitr holiday is celebrated by the Muslim community in Kenya marking the end of Ramadan. Its date depends on the sighting of the moon and shifts every year.

The feast goes on for three days but only the first day is given as a public holiday.

Important National Public Holidays

Jamhuri, Madaraka and Mashujaa Days are the important National Public Holidays in Kenya.

Jamhuri Day (Kenya’s Independence Day) is celebrated on 12 December marking Kenya’s independence from British rule in 1963.

Madaraka Day celebrates Kenya’s Self-Rule achieved in 1963 from the British who occupied our country.

Mashujaa Day or Heroes Day (Formerly Kenyatta Day) is a day for honoring all the heroes that struggled for Kenya’s independence. It’s also a day for honoring those who have excelled in contributing to national issues.

These National holidays are marked by festivities in all the 47 counties in Kenya. Nairobi hosts the National event attended by the President of the Republic Of Kenya.

There is entertainment and pomp, before the President addresses the nation. He touches on what makes the day and then outlines what his government is up to.

 Trooping Upcountry For Christmas

Christmas in Africa is an exciting time of the year.

Most people travel upcountry for Christmas and Easter holidays.

The celebrations bring families and friends together. They eat, drink and make merry.

Those who are well off take holidays at the beach resorts, in Kenya hotels, and Safari lodges.

Roasting Nyama Choma Photo/Isaac Miriri

One Off Public Holidays

Public holidays in Kenya can fall on a weekday or weekend.

When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, then Monday automatically becomes a holiday compensating Sunday which is normally a resting day.

Other public holidays in Kenya are observed as and when they arise. These public holidays are declared by the Kenya government.

They consist of matters touching on the Republic Of Kenya. The general elections day is one of these.

The Kenya government might declare a public holiday anytime an important national matter warrants.

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