Eid al Adha: Kenyans Look Forward to Public Holiday

Nairobi residents walking to work due to increased cost of transport within the city.
Nairobi residents walking to work due to the increased cost of transport within the city.

Although it hasn't yet been gazetted, individuals and organisations in Kenya are already making plans for an anticipated public holiday on Friday, July 31, as Muslim faithful mark Eid al Adha.

Eid al Adha is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated across the world, honoring Abraham's obedience to God demonstrated by willingness to sacrifice his son.

The Ministry of Interior's move to gazette the day as a public holiday in 2019 was met with praise from Muslim leaders who hailed it as fostering a path to national cohesion.

Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on Monday, July 27, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) Director of Religious Affairs Sheikh Hassan Kinyua confirmed that they had petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i to have the day gazetted as a public holiday.

Jamia Mosque Nairobi.
Jamia Mosque Nairobi.
Jamia Mosque.

"We expect to be informed of a decision by tomorrow (Tuesday, July 28) on the petition," he disclosed.

Kinyua went on to explain that Muslim leaders had for decades been pushing for the government to enshrine the status of Eid al Adha as a public holiday much in the same way Eid ul Fitr is.

"What has been guaranteed since the times of the founding President Jomo Kenyatta is Eid ul Fitr, but when it comes to Eid al Adha the government has been playing with us.

"Sometimes, they offer gazettement as a ploy in election years, but what we have been pushing for is for it to be fully enshrined," he observed.

He noted, however, that he expected it to be gazetted to be as a holiday as it was in the government's interests for people to stay at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Interior Ministry Spokesperson Wangui Muchiri was yet to respond to related queries made by Kenyans.co.ke by the time of publication.

Sheikh Kinyua also explained the religious significance of the holiday, noting that it was a day that represented sacrifice.

"Importantly, it is a holiday of sacrifice because it remembers the obedience it took for Abraham to be willing to sacrifice his son. And also, it is a day to thank God for a successful Hajj (pilgrimage).

"For instance, I have been doing Hajj for the past eighteen years. So it's a day for me to offer my gratitude," he explained.

Muslims faithfuls attending a Friday prayer at the Jamia Mosque.
Muslims faithfuls attending a Friday prayer at the Jamia Mosque.
Jamia Mosque