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Lesson Transcript

Medina: Hi everyone! Welcome back to SwahiliPod101.com! I’m Medina.
Joshua: And I’m Joshua. This is All About, Lesson 9 - Top 5 Most Important Dates on the Kenyan Calendar.

Lesson focus

Medina: In this lesson, we’ll talk about the top five most important holidays in Kenya.
Joshua: How are we going to choose from so many?
Medina: (laughs), very funny. Kenya doesn’t have that many holidays.
Joshua: Well, it has a few at least!
Medina: And there are some that are more prominent than others.
Joshua: Well then, let's get to it!
Medina: We'll go in reverse order…
Joshua: Number five…
Medina: The fifth most important day in Kenya is "Labor day" ("New Year").
Joshua: Labor day is celebrated in Kenya much the same way it is in the rest of the world. It’s celebrated on the first day of May. Some know it as May Day.
Medina: Labor day is known to most as a day to celebrate the social and economic achievements of the labor movement. It’s celebrated on May 1 in many countries around the world, and is still often a day for protests and rallies.
Joshua: On this day, various labor organizations across the country hold street demonstrations and street marches, with millions of working people.
Joshua: Ok. Number four…
Medina: The fourth most important day in Kenya is ‘Krismasi’, “Christmas”.
Joshua: Like other countries with a Christian background, Kenya also celebrates Christmas.
Medina: Christmas in Kenya starts on the eve of the 24th, when a nice Christmas dinner is held. Sometimes the presents are opened on that same evening, or on Christmas day itself. It depends on what’s been agreed with the invited guests.
Medina: On the 25th, the family gathers around for a real breakfast. And the Christians go to church on that day.
Joshua: Yes, but that doesn’t mean that only Christians celebrate Christmas. The old tradition has been a celebration for everyone, since Christians believe that Christ came for all of us. But unfortunately, this holiday has become highly commercialized and lost most of its religious aspects.
Medina: Now on to number three…It’s Easter, which goes from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. It’s a long holiday that everyone looks forward to. And it’s a time when most people travel upcountry to relax with their families.
Joshua: It’s a significant day for Christians, and since the Kenyan population is 80% Christians, it happens to be a busy day at church. Concerts are often held after the main service as well.
Medina: Recently, many have been taking part in overnight prayer services and celebrations on the Friday, and concerts on the weekend.
Joshua: Unfortunately, just like Christmas, it has become a commercial holiday, and the religious significance of the day has started to lose its meaning.
Medina: Ok, and next up is number two…
Joshua: Another important day in Kenya is June 1st.
Medina: Which is Kenya’s Madaraka holiday or Day of Liberation.
Joshua: It’s held to celebrate the achievement of internal self-rule following four decades of armed struggle. This self-rule was achieved before Kenya’s independence from the United Kingdom, on 12 December, 1963. On this day we also have to appreciate heroes, role models and vision.
Medina: It is one of most widely celebrated holidays in Kenya.
Joshua: You’ll see thousands of people on the streets in long processions, carrying the Kenyan flag and singing the national anthem.
Medina-: Kenyans gather in their neighbouring stadiums to celebrate. The climax of the event is a speech from the president.
Joshua: A similar holiday to this is Jamhuri Day, or independence day. This also happens to be number one on our list.
Medina-: Jamhuri Day is one of the most important national holidays in Kenya, and is observed on December 12.
Joshua: This holiday formally marks the date of the country’s admittance in 1964 into the Commonwealth as a republic, and takes its name from the Swahili word ‘jamhuri’ meaning “republic”.
Medina-: December 12, 1963 - one year earlier - is also the date that Kenya gained its independence from the UK.
Joshua: No matter the nationality or religion of the person, this day can be celebrated by everybody living in Kenya.
Medina: On these public holidays, it’s common to see a large parade of soldiers, police and students marching along with a band. This is one of the activities that make the celebration interesting.
Joshua: So, with that, we've covered the five most important holidays in Kenya.


Medina: We hope you have the chance to visit Kenya during one of these holidays so that you can experience them for yourself!
Joshua: Thanks for listening, everyone.
Joshua: See you later!
Medina: Bye.