Public Holidays in Kenya 2019/2020


If you are a working class adult living in Keny at the moment, I’m pretty sure you are wondering when the next public holiday will be. Most of the times, national public holidays are gazetted. However, it can be tasking to keep checking your calendar to get the date for the next holiday. That’s why today we will look at a list of all public holidays in Kenya in the calendar year 2019/2020. We will start out with the most recent and then move towards those not yet celebrated.

What does a Gazetted public holiday mean in Kenya?

This is a holiday that must be observed by employers, schools, and banks. There is however an exemption for those working in the service industry such as hotels. An interesting term about this term gazetted is that it’s only used by those countries that were initially colonized by the British. The minister has to issue a gazette notice in order to have the employers follow it.

Public National holidays in Kenya

As earlier stated, we will start out with the most recently celebrated holiday and then move on towards those not yet celebrated.

  1. Madaraka day – Celebrated every 1st of June

Madaraka day is a national holiday in which Kenya celebrates the day when it gained independence from the British. In this year, Madaraka day was celebrated on Saturday to the dislike of many Kenyans. As is the Law, any public holiday, that lies on a Saturday is celebrated on that day. However, any public holiday that lies on a Sunday is pushed to be celebrated on Monday.

Narok county was the host for this years Madaraka day. It will go down in history that, it is on this day that the central bank of Kenya introduced the new Kenyan notes. This was the 56th celebration since the country gained independence in 1963.

2. Idd al-Fitr

This festival is celebrated in order to mark the end of the holy month (Ramadhan). The date to celebrate this festival is not constant has it’s highly depended on the appearance of the moon.

Before the start of this holiday, a Muslim faithful is required to give to the poor in order to ensure that on the day of the celebration they have food to partake. Idd al – Fitr was celebrated on Wednesday 6/5/2019, this year.

3. Moi Day – 10th October

This holiday was established as a way of honoring his Excellency Daniel Arap Moi who was the former president of Kenya. Upon the declaration of the new constitution in 2010, this holiday was scrapped off. However, it was later to be reinstated in 2017 following a court ruling by George Odunga.

Once again, Kenyans have a day to take a break from their back-breaking jobs and spend some time with friends and relatives.

4. Mashujaa Day – 20th October

Initially, this holiday was known as Kenyatta Day. It had been established in order to celebrate and honor the first president of the Republic of Kenya. However, when people started questioning the importance of this day to the common mwananchi, the name was changed to Mashujaa day.

In English, the word mashujaa means heroes. It is on this holiday that the people who fought in the Mau Mau movement and shed their blood are celebrated. On this particular day, we Kenyan’s remember the Kapenguria six who were detained and arrested.

This public holiday is very important as reminds us as a country on the cost of our freedom.

5. Jamhuri day – 12th December

This is one of my best public holidays. It is on this day, that we celebrate the day when Kenya actually gained its independence. Kenya was officially declared independent on the 12th of December 1964.

There is a difference between Jamhuri day and Madaraka day. Madaraka day, celebrated on 1st of June is when Kenya gained self-rule while it took independence from the British colony in 12th December 1964.

6. Christmas Day – 25th December

This public holiday is marked by Christians all over the world. It is a day in which we celebrate the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. It’s always my favorite time of the year, as one gets to spend lots of time with family, friends, and relatives.

It is always around this time that most private companies give their employees annual leaves. This means that one does not have to spend it hurriedly in order to rush back to work. Christmas holiday is synonymous to food, drinks, shags, and laughter.

7. Boxing day – 26th December

Though most of us do not know the meaning and importance of this holiday, we still end up celebrating it in our own way. This holiday was declared by Wealthy British families when they got to offer presents to their servants.

In Kenya, we mostly spend this holiday upcountry, if we can afford the transport rate at the time. Most of us will mostly open our gifts, the one which friends and family shared during Christmas.

8. New Years Day – 1st January

On this public holiday, Kenyans celebrate the beginning of a new year. For most of Kenyans as well as other people worldwide, it is a day that we commemorate new beginnings. Some of us might spend the night before reflecting on the wins and losses of the previous year.

However, the larger population of Kenyans would rather spend it in places of entertainment waiting for midnight.

9. Good Friday

This holiday just like the idd al – Fitr is not celebrated on a specific date. The date on which to celebrate this holiday is determined based on the Gregorian calendar.  This is a Christian holiday in which the faithful celebrate the date on which the Messiah, Jesus Christ was crucified.

For shoppers in the house, this day is also known as the Black Friday. On this day, sellers offer their goods to sell at relatively discounted prices to their customers.

10. Easter Monday

On this day, Christians all over the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It always comes on the third day after Good Friday. The dates on when to celebrate it are also determined by the Gregorian calendar.

11. Labor Day – 1st May

In this public holiday, the workers in Kenya are celebrated. And it is among the public holidays in Kenya. Most of the times, the trade union organizations, as well as employers organizations, are the key players. The head of state also may take this opportunity to introduce some major changes expected to affect both employees and employers.

For instance, in this year’s celebrations, there was a discussion around the housing levy. However, its worth to note that this holiday is celebrated internationally. It may also be referred to as May day.


Moreover, there are some holidays that are at the discretion of the Ministry. For instance, all the National voting days are declared to be national public holidays in Kenya. This is because it is a legal right for all the Kenyans to vote.

Subscribe For More!

If you want to be the first to get updated when we publish please subscribe to our newsletter


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Recently Published

Become rich in Kenya

How to become rich in Kenya

If there is a question that many of us struggle to answer as soon as we hit 18 years of age, is how to...