Public Holiday Kenya - List of Public Holidays in Kenya

By Mabel Collins

Kenya, a vibrant East African nation that has diverse cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and rich history, celebrates numerous public holidays throughout the year. These holidays offer Kenyans an opportunity to commemorate significant events, honor national heroes, observe religious occasions, and foster unity among its people. Each holiday carries its own unique significance, reflecting the multifaceted tapestry of Kenyan society.

In this article, we explore the list of public holidays in Kenya, delving into their origins, cultural importance, and how they are celebrated across the country.

Kenya Public Holidays - 2024 Calendar


  • New Year's Day -  Monday, 1 Jan


  • Good Friday - Friday, 29 Mar
  • Easter Sunday - Sunday, 31 Mar    


  • Monday, Easter Monday -  Monday, Apr 1 
  • End of Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr) - Wednesday , Apr 10


  • Labour Day - Wednesday, 1 May
  • Mother's Day -  Sunday, 12 May


  • Madaraka Day - Monday, 1 Jan
  • Feast of the Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha)  - Sunday, 16 Jan


  • Moi Day - Thursday, 10 Oct
  • Mashujaa Day - Sunday, 20 Oct
  • Mashujaa Day (substitute day) - Oct 21    


  • Jamhuri Day - Thursday, 12 December
  • Christmas Day - Wednesday, 25 December
  • Boxing Day  - Thursday, 25 December
  • New Year's Eve - Tuesday, 31 December

How Many Public Holidays in Kenya?

Kenya observes a total of 11 public holidays throughout the year. These holidays are celebrated nationwide and include both religious and secular occasions. The specific dates of these public holidays may vary from year to year based on the lunar calendar or government decisions.

Below is the list of public holidays in Kenya that you can refer to prepare for your Kenya trips!

Upcoming Public Holidays in Kenya Throughout The Year

New Year's Day - January 1

The New Year's Day holiday marks the beginning of the Gregorian calendar and is celebrated with fervor and enthusiasm across Kenya. It is a time for reflection, resolutions, and fresh beginnings. 

For many Kenyans, New Year's Day represents an opportunity for renewal and personal growth. It's a chance to leave behind old habits and negative energy, embracing a fresh start with optimism and determination. From setting goals for career advancement to committing to healthier lifestyle choices, individuals embark on a journey of self-improvement fueled by the belief that the new year offers endless possibilities for growth and fulfillment. Kenyans often gather with family and friends for festive meals, parties, and various social activities through this public holiday Kenya.

The fireworks in New Year Day in Nairobi, Kenya

The fireworks in New Year Day in Nairobi, Kenya

Good Friday - Date Varies (March or April)

Good Friday in Kenya is a poignant and solemn day observed by Christians nationwide, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. With a rich historical and religious significance, this day prompts deep reflection on the sacrifice made by Christ for the redemption of humanity.

Kenyan Christians attend special church services marked by prayers, hymns, and readings from the Bible, recounting the events leading up to Christ's crucifixion. Many also participate in processions and reenactments depicting the Stations of the Cross, symbolizing Christ's journey to Golgotha. Good Friday serves as a profound reminder of the power of forgiveness, redemption, and the unwavering love of God, fostering a sense of spiritual introspection and renewal among believers across the nation.

Easter Monday - Date Varies (March or April)

Easter Monday, the day after Easter Sunday, is a public holiday Kenya. Following the solemn observance of Good Friday and the joyous festivities of Easter Sunday, Easter Monday offers a time for Kenyans to gather with loved ones, enjoy shared meals, and partake in cultural traditions. It's a day for attending church services focused on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and for engaging in festive activities such as Easter egg hunts and outings to parks or recreational areas. Through these rituals, Easter Monday serves as a meaningful occasion for spiritual renewal, familial bonding, and cultural expression across the country.

Many people take advantage of the long weekend to travel to different parts of the country to visit relatives, go on vacation, or engage in leisure pursuits such as hiking, picnicking, or visiting tourist attractions.

People will decorate their beautiful eggs on Easter Monday

People will decorate their beautiful eggs on Easter Monday

Labor Day - May 1

Labor Day, also known as International Workers' Day, is a global observance dedicated to honoring the contributions of workers and the labor movement. In Kenya, the national holiday is marked by various events, including parades, rallies, and speeches organized by trade unions, workers' associations, and government officials. It serves as a platform to advocate for workers' rights, fair labor practices, and social justice issues.

Madaraka Day - June 1

Madaraka Day holds great significance in Kenyan history as it commemorates the day when Kenya attained self-rule from British colonial rule in 1963. The word "Madaraka" translates to "responsibility" in Swahili, emphasizing the nation's newfound autonomy and the responsibility of its citizens to govern themselves. Celebrations typically include flag-raising ceremonies, cultural performances, and speeches by government leaders highlighting the progress and achievements of the nation since independence.

Eid al-Fitr - Date Varies (Based on the Islamic Lunar Calendar)

Eid al-Fitr holds a special place in the hearts of Muslims in Kenya, marking the joyous culmination of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual reflection.

Being one of Kenya's official holidays - it is a joyous occasion for Muslims worldwide, characterized by prayers, feasting, and acts of charity. In Kenya, Muslims gather for special prayers at mosques, followed by festive meals shared with family and friends. The holiday is a time of unity, forgiveness, and gratitude, with an emphasis on compassion and generosity towards others.

Eid al-Fitr is a holiday for Muslims

Eid al-Fitr is a holiday for Muslims

Mashujaa Day - October 20

Mashujaa Day (Kenyatta Day) is a Kenya national holiday that honors the country's heroes and heroines. The Swahili word "Mashujaa" translates to "heroes," symbolizing the courageous individuals who fought for Kenya's independence and contributed to its development and progress. On this day, Kenyans pay tribute to freedom fighters, leaders, and other notable figures through various activities, including parades, cultural performances, and the laying of wreaths at monuments and gravesites.

Diwali - Date Varies (Based on the Hindu Lunar Calendar)

Diwali - the "Festival of Lights," is a major Hindu holiday celebrated by millions of people worldwide, including the Indian diaspora in Kenya. The festival signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. In Kenya, Diwali is marked by colorful decorations, traditional rituals, and the lighting of lamps and fireworks. Families gather for prayers, exchange gifts, and share festive meals, sweets, and treats with loved ones and neighbors.

Jamhuri Day - December 12

Jamhuri Day, meaning "Republic Day" in Swahili, commemorates the day Kenya officially became a republic on December 12, 1964. It is a time to celebrate the country's sovereignty, democracy, and national pride. Festivities include flag-raising ceremonies, cultural performances, and speeches by government officials highlighting Kenya's achievements and aspirations as a sovereign nation. 

Jamhuri Day is one of Public holiday Kenya and is also an occasion for Kenyans to reflect on the difficulties facing the nation and reaffirm their commitment to building a more prosperous and inclusive society.

On Jamhuri day, people will raise the nation flag

On Jamhuri day, people will raise the nation flag

Christmas Day - December 25

Christmas is widely celebrated in Kenya, both as a religious holiday and a cultural festival. It is a time for Christians to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ and to rejoice with family, friends, and communities. Kenyans decorate their homes and churches with festive lights, Christmas trees, and nativity scenes. Church services are held, featuring carols, prayers, and sermons recounting the Christmas story. Families gather for elaborate feasts, exchange gifts, and participate in various festivities, including concerts, parties, and charity events.

Boxing Day - December 26

Boxing Day, celebrated on the day after Christmas, is a time for relaxation, recreation, and charitable giving. While not as widely observed as Christmas, it is still recognized as a public holiday in Kenya. Many people use this day to recuperate from the festivities of Christmas, enjoy leisure activities, or engage in acts of kindness and philanthropy. Some participate in sports events, outdoor excursions, or volunteer work to support those in need in their communities.


In conclusion, Public Holiday Kenya plays a vital role in Kenyan society, providing occasions for celebration, reflection, and unity among its diverse population. Each holiday reflects the country's history, culture, and religious diversity, contributing to the rich tapestry of national identity. Whether commemorating independence, honoring religious traditions, or celebrating cultural festivals, these holidays bring Kenyans together to reaffirm their shared values and aspirations for a brighter future. 
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