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5 Kenyan Christmas Traditions That Need A Comeback

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Christmas can easily be described as the most popular holiday universally. Around the globe, different People observe the holiday season with different traditions although Christmas is mainly an annual celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ observed by Christians.

Just as Americans have Santa, the snow man and Christmas carols, We Kenyans have our unique Christmas traditions. Here are Five Kenyan Christmas traditions that need a comeback.

  1. The Upcountry Migration.

In the past, the festive period was marked with a large number of migrations of people to their rural home. It was the most exciting period of the year for kids as they got to be pampered by their grandparents upcountry. It also provided a change of environment for the working adults who took leave from their office jobs and joined their parents in the shamba. These days, the curriculum has shortened the term breaks for kids making it hard for them to travel to their parents rural home and society glorifying overworking has made parents focus more on work making taking  leave from work for holidays seem unnecessary.

  • Extended family Meetings.

In the past Christmas meant time to connect with the extended family. Relatives from all over the country would meet at their rural home and celebrate Christmas together. The tradition is fast fading out with many Kenyans preferring to spend it in various malls and recreational facilities as a nuclear family. We need to bring back the extended family ‘get togethers’ as they enhanced family unity and helped pass on family traditions to the younger generation.

  • Hanging of Ribbons and balloons

During the holidays, homes where filled with funny looking ribbons and balloons to signify the merry mood and happy Christmas spirit. Although it has now been replaced by classy decorations and Christmas trees, I can’t help but feel nostalgic remembering them.


  • New Christmas Clothes

Who dare forgets the excitement of getting new clothes during Christmas. Traders made a killing during the holidays with a hike in prices due to increase in demand as families went shopping. Kids would sleep in the new shoes during Christmas Eve too excited to wait for the D-day.

  • The Family Barbeque (Nyama Choma)

Families would organise themselves to cook the Christmas Feast with the males from the family slaughtering Cows, goats, chicken, Sheep and other animals while the ladies handled the stews and Chapattis. They happily interacted in the process catching up on lost time sharing recipes and laughter.  This days families prefer going to restaurants or hiring catering services and as much as this is effective it takes away the Christmas traditions and excitement that came with it.

Although not included in the list the number of those who attend church service during Christmas has decreased which is ironic given that the Festive season is inspired by the Christian holiday. With the Festive season approaching perhaps you could choose to celebrate this Christmas the traditional way.




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