LOYALTY TO STATE

National fetes meant for patriotism, not another day off work

To most Kenyans, national holidays are just a day when they don't report to work

In Summary

• The President, instead of his signature speeches every national holiday, should do something different like watch a patriotic play at the national theatre. 

• Kenyans should celebrate national holidays wherever they are, use them to mark all the things that bring them together. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta inspects the Guard of Honour mounted by the Kenya Defence Forces during celebrations to mark Mashujaa Day and Launch of Kenya at 50 Celebrations Calendar at Nyayo National Stadium
REVOLUTIONALISE: President Uhuru Kenyatta inspects the Guard of Honour mounted by the Kenya Defence Forces during celebrations to mark Mashujaa Day and Launch of Kenya at 50 Celebrations Calendar at Nyayo National Stadium
Image: PSCU

Recently, a legal loophole meant that, whether or not we liked it, Kenyans were required to mark yet another Moi Day, as a public holiday.

However, as a public holiday that is not a national holiday, the government did not make much effort to mark the occasion with any pomp or ceremony.  In a few days, Kenyans all over the country will gather in various venues to mark Mashujaa Day.

This holiday, on the other hand, is designated as a national holiday. As is always the case, elaborate preparations are underway to make sure it gets the commemoration it deserves. Yet despite these efforts, for most working Kenyans, the most significant thing about these two holidays is the fact that they do not have to report to work.

It seems that despite their best efforts, Kenyans just aren’t feeling the patriotism that effective national celebrations evoke in a loyal citizen of a country. The reason for that is lack of variety. Let’s face it, for all the time and effort that goes into putting on national celebrations, it seems like instead of having three national holidays in a year, we in Kenya have the same national holiday three times in a year.

The same military and police parades, the same smatter of traditional entertainers, finishing up with the same dignitaries giving the same kind of speeches, at least thrice a year, year after year. 

Contrast this with religious holidays such as Christmas, Easter or Eid for instance. Each carries a distinct set of customs that are specifically designed to hammer home the importance of the events to the respective believers.

Each holiday fosters a sense of togetherness within religious communities that national holidays have failed to do for Kenyans.

 

Communications student, Daystar University