This is a part of the Christmas Around The World guest post series, in which bloggers from across the globe will be telling us all about Christmas in their home country. Today we have Rachael from Safari254, sharing an insight into the holiday season in Kenya.

What does Christmas look like in Kenya?

Fondly referred to as 'siku kuu', Swahili for 'big occasion', Christmas in Kenya is primarily about family. Most Kenyans in the cities have left their families in the rural areas for work reasons, so the first activity that marks the holidays is a mass migration of people back to the villages to their parents' and relatives' homes. For many, this is the only time of the year that they have the opportunity to see their families, so it is a very important time to reconnect.

By December 24th, many people are already gathered in their rural homes, while those who have not travelled will usually have something planned for the actual day. On Christmas Eve many Catholics attend church in the evening, for Midnight Mass. On the 25th many people attend the Christmas service which mainly runs between 10am to 12pm, after which the feast begins, with lots of eating, drinking, singing and catching up with family members.

What food is served for Christmas dinner?

Christmas dinner is a traditional African feast, which for many families will include:

- Chapati, or 'chapo' as we fondly refer to them in Kenya, is a very popular flat bread in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Somalia). The dish was introduced to Kenya by Indian labourers who were brought by the British colonial government to build the East African railway. Though this flat bread has its origins in India, the East African version is different, with a unique way of preparing the dough and a different type of flour used to prepare them. The aroma of the sizzling chapatis is always irresistible; they are freshly baked and meant to be eaten immediately.

- Pilau is a rice dish cooked in a seasoned broth, which attains its brown colour by being stirred with pieces of cooked onion and a mix of spices and meat. Pilau is a traditional Swahili dish brought by Arabs, who for centuries settled on the East African Coast. This traditional Swahili dish is now a staple in many Kenyan festivities and very popular around Christmas.

- A goat is also normally killed for the occasion, then barbecued or roasted to what is popularly referred to as 'nyama choma'.

- Kachumbari an uncooked salad dish consisting of chopped tomatoes, onions and chilli peppers, with lemon or lime to taste.

Which are your favourite Christmas songs ?

For me it has to be Feliz Navidad by Jose Felician. This song reminds me of memories as a child of a choir from a nearby church coming to our estate and performing the song with lots of pomp and ceremony.

Have you ever spent Christmas in a different country? How did that differ from being at home?

Yes, I have spent some Christmas holidays in England. I especially remember the Christmas decorations going up very early, in late October and early November. All the shops are decked out and there are lots of sales and shopping. In Kenya, shops and supermarkets decorate modestly, nothing close to the shopping malls in England, and wait until December to start decorating.

Another obvious difference is the weather; the cold and snowy winters in England vis-à-vis the sunny weather in Kenya.

Thanks Rachael! Are there any other Kenyan readers out there? What does your Christmas look like?