Kenya: Santa in a Range Rover

Christmas in Kenya is the time when everyone goes to see their family. Santa also comes on Christmas Eve. But not on a sleigh pulled by reindeers. Rather, he comes in a Range Rover, on a bicycle or even on a camel.

Gift-giving customs

The most common gift in Kenya is clothes. These are then worn on Christmas Day and presented to the family. While in the cities other things are also given as gifts, in the rural areas it is customary to give at most small articles of daily use as additional gifts.

There are additional customs when giving gifts. For example, gifts are given either with the right hand or both hands, and never only with the left hand. When celebrating with friends, it is also customary to bring a small gift for the host(s). This is tea or flowers in cities and flour, coffee, sugar, and maize in the countryside. Gifts given in woven bags called "kiondo" are to be returned after the holidays, filled with small gifts of gratitude.

Barbecues on Christmas

While in Germany in the summer months, especially in rural areas, you cannot walk a kilometre without seeing a man standing at a barbecue with a beer bottle in his hand, in Kenya it is a tradition to barbecue at Christmas. At the "Nyama Choma", beef, chicken, lamb or goat are grilled and served together with rice and chapati. But beer is not missing either. Especially in rural areas, people drink beer while barbecuing, as some also brew their own beer locally.

Midnight mass is also held in Kenya. Here, not only the sermon is given, but there is also singing, poetry is recited, dances are performed and the nativity play is not to be missed. Afterwards, there is a celebration everywhere and the carol singers go from house to house collecting donations for the local church.


International Assistance in Kenya:

In Kenya, we support nomadic communities in adapting to climate change and help people affected by natural disasters to secure their basic needs.