Kenya's Gift Giving Custom

Published: 09th July 2010
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Kenyans love giving gifts to each other, to their workers and family friends especially during religious holidays and special days in the other person's life. The gifts are meant to make the other person feel appreciated and add value to their life. Gifts that are practical such as food stuffs and money are mostly given. During Christmas, the practice is more intense and people spend more money than usual. The gifts need not be expensive; in fact it is the thought that counts. It is a taboo to go visiting another person's home without a gift.

If invited to somebody's home, carry some candy, stuff for the kids and anything that will make the other person feel appreciated. In rural Kenya, people even take potatoes, tomatoes, sugar or unga to the other person's house. The gifts are nicely wrapped and well presented. Servants are given small gifts to show them that they are appreciated especially during Christmas season.

Men in Kenya do not normally exchange gifts but it is not uncommon to see somebody given his friend a goat or a cock as a sign of appreciation. If someone has helped you in times of trouble, a gift is sent to the person as a sign of appreciation too. Men usually invite their friends for goat eating and beer drinking parties. In fact, Kenyan men do not drink alone, they call a few friends and buy them the drinks. The friends in turn return the favor and call him the next time. If men are seated together in a pub, they buy each other drinks in turn to show how selfless they are.

Dickson is the Chief Tour Guide and one of the Directors of Adventure Africa Expedition, he has traveled in many countries in Africa where he built the spirit of adventure and discovered nature hidden wonders in especially tailored walking trails like in Kisoro in Rwanda and Bwindi in Uganda both for Gorilla tracking. For more information on his work please visit

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