Gazetted Public Holidays In Kenya 2021 [You Need To Know] – Full Lists

Filed in Article by on March 29, 2021 0 Comments

Are you looking for the list of Gazetted Public Holidays In Kenya? If yes, then this informative article is for you. You will be given detailed information about the Full List of Gazetted Public Holidays in Kenya.

The term “gazetted holiday” is one that the government considers mandatory; hence, such days get observed by government parastatals, schools, and typically most employers.

Kenyans look forward to all public holidays since they imply time off work and school. Most importantly, if a holiday falls on a Friday or a Monday, then it causes much excitement for a long weekend. Here is a detailed list of all the official public holidays in Kenya to keep you in the loop.

Gazetted Public Holidays In Kenya

The year is loaded with holidays to check out for. This Kenyan public holidays list will keep you prepared for them.

1. New Year -1st January

New Year is an international public holiday that is celebrated on the 1st of January each year. It marks the beginning of a new year. It is celebrated widely in many countries all over the world even though the countdown may not be at the same time.

2. Good Friday

Good Friday also referred to as Holy Friday or Great Friday is a significant Christian holiday to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus as well as his death at Calvary. The dates for the holidays vary from year to year. It is considered a public holiday in Kenya.

The holiday is on the Friday before Easter Sunday. The date of Good Friday is calculated as two days before Easter Sunday. It falls on the first full moon of the Paschal calendar after 21st March which is taken to be the date of the vernal equinox.

Sometimes, it can coincide with the Jewish Passover and is also called the Great Friday, Black Friday or Holy Friday.

3. Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday holiday is also known as Pascha in (Greek and Latin). The holiday celebrates the resurrection of Christ. It is celebrated on a Sunday and overflows to Monday, which is a public holiday in Kenya.

Easter Sunday falls on the first full moon of the Paschal calendar after 21st March which is taken to be the date of the vernal equinox. Easter Sunday varies from year to year and is never on a fixed date.

4. Labour Day -1st May

Labour Day is another international holiday that is marked on the 1st of May every year. This public holiday is referred to as May Day. This official holiday is when employees in Kenya get celebrated and their plight at the workplace is highlighted.

5. Madaraka Day -1st June

It is one of the significant national holidays in Kenya that is observed on the 1st of June each year. Madaraka celebrations commenced back in 1963 when Kenya attained self-rule and full control over its internal affairs from its colonialists.

6. Eid al Fitr

This is one of the official holidays celebrated nationally in the country. The holiday marks the end of Ramadhan and the start of Shawwal. Eid al Fitr dates vary every year depending on when the Month of Ramadhan begins in the Islamic calendar. Islamic calendar follows the lunar system.

Kenyans take time off work and school to join their Muslim counterparts who celebrate the day attending communal prayers and handing charity to the less privileged.

7. Eid Ul Adha/Eid al- Adha

Eid al Adha is another important holiday in the Muslim calendar. It commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his only son Ismael to Allah.

Eid al Adha is a public holiday in Kenya. The actual date follows the Islamic Lunar Calendar and should be on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah.

8. Huduma Day -10th October

Is 10th October a holiday in Kenya? Huduma Day is a public holiday that was established to honour the former president of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi. This holiday was scrapped off the list of gazetted public holiday in Kenya in 2010 following the declaration of the new constitution.

For seven years, Kenyans did not celebrate the holiday on the 10th of October as was the norm. Nevertheless, a ruling by Justice George Odunga reinstated Moi Day as one of the Kenyan National holidays.

For the first time in seven years, Kenyans got time off work and school to celebrate the day. Unless amended by parliament, Moi Day shall remain a public holiday in the country for years to come.

9. Mashujaa Day – 20th October

Mashujaa Day also known as heroes’ day is celebrated on the 20th of October every year in Kenya. The public holiday aims at honouring Kenyan forefathers who fought for the country to get independence from the British colonialists.

Initially, the day was known as Kenyatta Day and it was in honour of the country’s first president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

10. Diwali – 20th November

Diwali is an important auspicious holiday in the Hindi calendar. Even though Diwali is not among the gazetted public holidays in Kenya, Kenyan Hindus for many years have jubilantly marked the holiday as they take off a day from work and school to honour it.

The dates for the holiday vary from one year to the next since they have to coincide with the night that will be the darkest in the Hindu Lunisolar month of Kartika.

11. Jamhuri Day – 12th December

This is one of the most important National holidays in Kenya. The term ‘Jamhuri’ is of Swahili origin and it means republic. This is the day that commemorates the official date of Kenya’s independence that occurred on 12th December 1964.

Even though Kenya attained self -rule on the 1st June 1963, it is only on the 12th December 1964, that it was fully independent from the United Kingdom.

12. Christmas Day – 25th December

Christmas Day is another international public holiday that is marked by billions of people in most countries of the world on the 25th of December. The date venerates the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ and is one of the most important dates for Christians worldwide.

In Kenya, Christmas day is considered a special time for Kenyans to spend with their families and it is the one time most people travel to their rural homes.

13. Utamaduni Day – 26th December

Utamaduni day in Kenya is known worldwide as Boxing Day. It comes a day after Christmas and is celebrated each year on the 26th of December. The holiday is meant to commemorate the time when the wealthy in the U.K would offer a box of gifts to their servants.

Kenya, being one of the nations colonized by the British adopted the holiday and it is one of the gazette holidays in the country. Today, the day is marked with the opening of gifts given during Christmas day. The Kenyan Government renamed Boxing day to Utamaduni day

Is 27th December a public holiday in Kenya? 27th December is not a public holiday in Kenya.

Even though some of the gazetted public holidays in Kenya have varying dates from one year to the next, the significance remains the same.

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