In 1963, Kenya received her independence from British rule, and since then, our nation has acquired public holidays to mark special events in commemoration of the past and important aspects of the present.
Complete List of Public Holidays
Below is a full list of all the public holidays you should expect in the year 2023. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates on the latest trends and business news.
|New year’s||Sunday, 1st January pushed to Monday|
|Good Friday||Friday, 7th April|
|Easter Monday||Monday, 10th April|
|Labor Day||Monday, 1st May|
|Id-Ul-Fitr||Wednesday, 3rd May|
|Madaraka Day||Thursday, 1st June|
|Idd-Ul-Azha||Monday, 10th July|
|Utamaduni Day||Tuesday, 10th October|
|Mashujaa Day||Friday, 20th October|
|Diwali||Tuesday 24th October|
|Jamhuri Day||Tuesday, 12th December|
|Christmas||Monday, 25th December|
|Boxing day||Tuesday, 26th December|
Working Days and Employee Leave-days
In Kenya, all citizens are legally entitled to a certain number of paid annual leave days, as stated in the Employment Act 2007. The minimum number of days is 21, but employers may offer up to 30 days.
Employees are usually expected to take their annual leave at the end of the year, but this can be negotiated with their employer. Additionally, Kenyan workers are entitled to several public holidays, including New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, and others. These holidays are typically non-working days, although some employers may require their employees to work on these days if they fall on a regular workday.
Why are public holidays important in Kenya?
Here are some reasons why public holidays are important in Kenya:
- Cultural significance – Many public holidays in Kenya have cultural, historical or religious significance. For example, Madaraka Day commemorates Kenya’s internal self-rule in 1963, Mashujaa Day recognizes heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle, and Eid holidays mark important days in the Islamic calendar. Holidays help reinforce cultural identity.
- National unity – Public holidays provide a shared day of observance that brings Kenyans together across ethnic and religious lines. This promotes unity, togetherness and national identity.
- Economic impact – Holidays stimulate certain industries like travel, hospitality, leisure and retail around the holiday period due to increased spending and economic activity. This creates jobs and revenues.
- Work-life balance – The breaks allow people to rest, reconnect with family and friends, pursue hobbies and recharge. This is beneficial for health, well-being and productivity when back at work.
- Public services – Holidays are often designated to recognize and honour public servants like teachers, police officers, nurses etc. This boosts morale and motivates these essential workers.
- Civic participation – Some holidays are marked with public events, speeches, protests or shows of patriotism. This facilitates citizens’ democratic participation.
- Religious freedom – Holidays like Christmas, Diwali, Eid etc. allow different religious groups their right to observe significant spiritual days.
In summary, public holidays promote culture, unity, well-being, social causes and freedom in Kenya – things that make the country vibrant, progressive and democratic. They provide important communal benefits.