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My Traditional Birthdays in Kenya

by Mayob
(Lamu, Kenya)

Mayob's birthday celebration in Kenya

Mayob's birthday celebration in Kenya

I grew up as a child in Kenya. To this day I remember being blessed with the most extraordinary birthday celebrations. They always included family and friends, and we had an amazing time.

Every single birthday, it was Mother's custom to take me to a thorn enclosure where we kept our cattle. We sat and talked a bit, then headed back into the village where the festivities would begin.

We held the birthday party in the heart of the village. My uncles and dad would have had at least two cattle killed and roasting on a spit for the whole village to feast upon. Everyone would show up, and the party would officially begin.

We do vibrant tribal dances while singing our traditional songs. We preform acts of strength to see who was the best man. Some of the acts included who could hold themselves off the ground the longest with just their arms, and who could lift the most twenty pound rocks at once. Being a young kid, I did not really stand a chance winning any of these competitions.

Usually, the party would end with us sitting around the fire telling stories and rejoicing in each others' presence. We had many laughs about whatever was going on in the village at that certain time.

The most precious part was that every year after everyone left, my grandfather would take me aside and give me a special present, telling me I was one year closer to becoming a man and leading the family.

The birthdays I enjoyed in Kenya were the best of my life. The sentimental time I got to spend with my grandfather just cannot be repeated.

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