One of the most outstanding Christmas traditions among communities in Kenya is having vigils popularly know as “Kesha” on Christmas Eve. Most worshippers come together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by singing hymns and carols, and even at times recreate the holy event by nativity plays. At midnight, churches ring bells to mark the birth of Christ while people sing praise songs to honour the start of Christmas Day.
On Christmas day, people serve nyama choma (grilled meat), kuku (chicken) and the famous chapati (flatbread). Wherever you go or whatever you eat, everyone is welcome. This tradition always reminds me of the joy and the love we have for each other as a community.
Getting together to share meals and storytelling is usually the best part, but the most amazing and wonderful time is during the night vigil, when one connects with Jesus though praise and worship, giving a sense of belonging and restoring one’s hope of starting anew with the birth of Christ.
The author is a member of Songhor Mennonite Church, Kenya.