Christmas Traditions in Kenya

Sikukuu njema ya Krismasi (“Merry Christmas” in Swahili)
Na azaliwe ndani yako (“May the Lord be born within you this Christmas”)

In the same way that the shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem after receiving the message the birth of Jesus from the angels, Kenyans who live in urban centers travel to rural areas to join their relatives for Christmas. Most travel in Kenya is done by bus, so the bus station becomes quite hectic during the Christmas season.

Once they are home there is much celebrating which includes lots of eating and drinking. Chickens, sheep, goats and cows are slaughtered by the hundreds to prepare for the celebration.

In the coastal province, the typical Christmas dish is Pilau. This is a dish made of rice, meat, usually beef, and many different spices. It is a staple food there. The food is served on one big tray and everyone eats from the tray using their fingers as utensils. No spoons, no forks, no knives!

As in many parts of the world, people gather together in churches to pray. Some even attend all night prayer and celebration services.