Kenyan Independence Day, also known as Jamhuri Day, is a significant day in the calendars of Kenyan people around the world every year. It is an opportunity for Kenyans across the nation to get together and celebrate.
Jamhuri Day is also a chance for Kenyans, and people of the Kenyan diaspora around the world, to remember their shared history and mark the date the country joined the Commonwealth as a republic.
But, how is Jamhuri Day celebrated today? How was independence won in Kenya? And what does Jamhuri mean? In this blog we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about Kenyan independence day including:
- When is Jamhuri Day?
- Why is Kenyan Independence Day celebrated?
- How do Kenyans Celebrate Independence Day?
- 3 interesting facts about Kenya
- What is the best way to send money to Kenya?
When is Jamhuri Day?
Jamhuri Day, also known as Republic Day or Independence Day, is celebrated each year on the 12th December. Jamhuri is a Swahili word that means ‘Republic’. The day is a momentous occasion for Kenyans and those of the Kenyan diaspora. It is a public holiday in Kenya and is celebrated by Kenyans all around the world.
Jamhuri Day is marked throughout the country with ceremonies, parades, events and flag flying. The Trooping of the Colour of the Kenya Defence Forces also takes place every Jamhuri Day. It is a non-working day in Kenya and allows Kenyans to reconnect with their heritage and enjoy the day with their families and friends.
Why is Kenyan Independence Day celebrated?
Jamhuri Day is held every year in order to celebrate Kenya gaining independence from the British Empire. In 1963 Kenya gained internal self-rule on 1 June. Today this day is also marked with a national public holiday called Madaraka Day. A year and six months after gaining self-rule, Kenya officially became a republic on the 12th December 1964. Today this day is known as Jamhuri (Republic) Day or Independence Day.
At the time Jomo Kenyatta, an anti-colonial activist and politician, served as Prime Minister from 1963 to 1963 before becoming President of Kenya. He served as President from 1964 until his death in 1978 and presided over the early years of Kenyan Independence. He oversaw the transition from British rule to Kenyan Independence.
The 12th of December 1964 was the culmination of a decades long struggle against colonial rule. After the Mau Mau uprisings in the 1950s, the people of Kenya increased their political participation and there was a growing discontent with colonial rule. Ultimately, after years of campaigning the Kenyan people finally achieved independence and Jamhuri Day is a national reminder of all these efforts.
How do Kenyans Celebrate Independence Day?
So, now you know a bit about the history of Jamhuri Day in Kenya, what about the actual celebrations?
Some of the key Independence Day traditions include military parades, music shows, parties and cultural events. Here are a few of the ways Kenyan citizens and those of the Kenyan diaspora mark the day:
- Trooping of the Colour
The Trooping of the Colour is a military ceremony conducted by the Kenyan Defence Forces at 11.30am each Jamhuri Day. At the beginning of the Trooping of the Colour the President will take the national salute, inspect the parade and then the band will play a slow march. It is a key tradition that many Kenyans will watch at home on their televisions. The parade usually concludes with the band playing the tune ‘Kenya Daima’.
- National Awards
On Jamhuri Day the President of Kenya will present a variety of Orders, decorations and medals to Kenyans. These awards are given in recognition of service to the country and for great achievements by a variety of Kenyans including athletes, musicians, military personnel and government officials.
- Parades and Parties
Some of the most important Jamhuri Day traditions are the parades and parties that fill the streets and homes of Kenyans around the world. Flags fly from balconies and tables are filled with food as the whole city marks Independence Day in style.
Kenyan’s celebrate Jamhuri Day in style with lots of parties and parades. So if you’re thinking about travelling to Kenya at the beginning of December you should be aware that your experience is likely to be affected by the celebrations.
It is a national holiday therefore many shops and public services will be closed. If you are in Nairobi or Mombasa in particular there will probably be road closures, travel disruption, and delays on public transportation. While it will be a hectic time, it will also be an opportunity for you to experience some real Kenya culture.
3 interesting facts about Kenya
- Kenya has 50 national parks and nature reserves. Kenya is home to the famous Masai Mara National Park as well as the large Amboseli National Park. It is one of the most popular safari destinations in the world and is home to an extraordinary variety of wildlife and nature.
Many of the national parks and nature reserves are managed and maintained by the Kenya Wildlife Service, who ensure that the local wildlife are protected and allowed to live in peace.
- The first woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize was from Kenya. Wangari Muta Maathai was a Kenyan social, environmental and political activist who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for decades of tireless work. Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977. This environmental non-governmental organisation worked towards improving environmental conservation and women’s rights throughout Kenya.
- Kenya is home to more than 60 spoken languages. The 2 official languages of Kenya are Swahili (Kiswahili) and English. However, there are a variety of indigenous languages spoken throughout the country. All you have to do is drive a few miles in any direction and you’ll hear different languages. Indeed, in major cities like Nairobi you’re likely to hear many of these languages just by walking down the street.
What is the best way to send money to Kenya?
Small World is a leading money transfer service created to help you and millions of others send money internationally. If you want to support your family and friends so they can celebrate Jamhuri Day in style, then Small World has got you covered.
Our money transfer services to Kenya include Mobile Wallet, Cash Pickup and Bank Deposit. With these services you can easily, securely and quickly send money overseas without any hassle.
Our local bank partners in Kenya include M-Pesa, Airtel, Equitel and many more. Connections like these all around the world have helped us deliver a fast, safe and reliable money transfer service to millions. If you want to help your loved ones celebrate Jamhuri day this year you can rely on Small World.
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