L-R: Rev. Can. Chris Kinyanjui, Archbishop Anthony Muheria, chairman Interfaith Council and Rev. Rosemary Mbogo, Interfaith Council, say churches should have clear entry and exit routes that avoid crowding at the doors and encourage people not to congregate outside places of worship. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Probably the most popular Christmas carol, Silent Night, composed in 1818 might never have been more relevant to Kenyans in past Christmases like it is now.

The song, composed by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in a small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria, best captures the mood on Christmas eve this year, usually characterised by church concerts and wild social parties.

It is 2020 years since the night when Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem, a secret and mystical affair that has had Christians worldwide celebrating the birth of their saviour loudly and joyfully.

With the Covid-19 health regulations and restrictions issued by the government that include an order that all public places must be closed by 9pm with a 10pm to 4am nationwide curfew, this Christmas night will be like no other.

Yesterday, religious leaders reminded their flock on the need to strictly observe Covid-19 protocols during worship.

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Speaking at Ufungamano House in Nairobi, Archbishop Anthony Muheria, the chair of the Interfaith Council for National Response to Coronavirus Pandemic, reminded the faithful that Christmas and New Year celebrations in places of worship will only last a maximum of 90 minutes.

Additionally, the overnight vigils observed by most churches on New Year’s Eve have been banned.

“Keep the worship sessions to 90 minutes. That means there should not be any keshas during this period and even on New Year’s Eve as they have not yet been allowed,” Muheria said.

The archbishop, however, instructed church leaders who may want to engage in other church activities besides worship services to find solutions but within the Covid-19 safety directives.

Away from the churches, the entertainment world is in near paralysis.

Ordinarily, the most active time for fun-lovers and entertainers, the season remains a dull one for musicians, events emcees, comedians and others who enjoys the windfall during this time of the year.

But a team of 11 entertainers is expected to thrill fans at Brackenhurst tonight – this being one of the few events taking place in the city.

Dubbed ‘Silent Night in the Forest’, the live music and dance event that will feature model Hannah Michuki, pianist Kasmuel McOure, saxophonist Tim Ruingu and Sarakasi acrobats among others is being held under stringent  guidelines that those to attend had to have registered and confirmed by yesterday.    

“The entertainment scene can hardly operate under the current conditions and we are busy rethinking how to work things out,” said Samuel Muraya aka DJ Mo of the gospel music stable System Unit.

Speaking to The Standard, the Blanket and Wines CEO Muthoni Ndoga said her team had to adhere to restrictions and cancel live shows.

“We have been filming all week to create a Covid-19-compliant event that will be held online,” Muthoni said.

Gospel singer and CEO of Lampstand Production house Smith Mwatia alias Rufftone has had to move his annual family concert christened Pure Praise – usually held in Bukhungu Stadium – to Karen, where he will accommodate a few.

“The concert will be an intimate one featuring Daddy Owen, Moji Short Babaa, Krystal, Timothy Kitui and I,” he said.

Gospel singer Emmy Kosgei has always held her annual Pamoja Concert in Eldoret in December. However, this year, she plans to have a prerecorded event. “We are working on the logistics, the situation around events has changed,” Kosgei said.

Other December concerts that have been cancelled include Other Groove Party, Cross Over Party and Totally Sold Out.

All is not lost however. From Nyali Reef Moonshine in Nyali to Paparemo Beach, it will still be party time for resident clients with the holiday joints having hired top deejays to entertain clients.

“I am fully booked this holiday season from Christmas Eve to New Year,” said Deejay Delph from Mombasa.

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