A public holiday, national holiday or legal holiday is a holiday generally established by law and is usually a non-working day during the year.
They vary by country and may vary by year. With 36 days a year, Nepal is the country with the highest number of public holidays but it observes six working days a week. India ranks second with 21 national holidays, followed by Colombia and the Philippines at 18 each. Likewise, China and Hong Kong enjoy 17 public breaks a year. Some countries (e.g. Cambodia) with a longer, six-day workweek, have more holidays (28) to compensate.
The public holidays are generally days of celebration, like the anniversary of a significant historical event, or can be a religious celebration like Diwali. Holidays can land on a specific day of the year, be tied to a certain day of the week in a certain month or follow other calendar systems like the Lunar Calendar.
French Journée de solidarité envers les personnes âgées (Day of solidarity with the elderly) is a notable exception. This holiday became a mandatory working day although the French Council of State confirmed it remains a holiday.
A civic holiday, civil holiday or work holiday is a day that is legally recognized and celebrated as a holiday in a particular sovereign state or jurisdictional subdivision of such, e.g., a state or a province. It is usually a day that the legislature, parliament, congress or sovereign has declared by statute, edict or decree as a non-working day when the official arms of government such as the court system are closed. In federal states there may also be different holidays for the constituent states or provinces, as in the United States where holidays that were established by the federal government are called federal holidays. Such days may or may not be counted in calculating the statute of limitations in legal actions and are usually days when non-custodial parents are given alternating visitation or access to their children from a prior marriage or relationship according to a parenting schedule.
The term may also be used to distinguish between days that may be celebrated as secular holidays rather than religious holidays such as the celebration of New Year's Day on January 1 (Gregorian calendar) and January 14 (Julian Calendar) in certain eastern Orthodox Christian countries such as Russia.
Boxing Day is a secular holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day. It originated in the United Kingdom and is celebrated in a number of countries that previously formed part of the British Empire. Boxing Day is on 26 December, although the attached bank holiday or public holiday may take place either on that day or two days later.
In some European countries, such as Romania, Hungary, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as a Second Christmas Day.Constitution Day
Constitution Day is a holiday to honor the constitution of a country. Constitution Day is often celebrated on the anniversary of the signing, promulgation or adoption of the constitution, or in some cases, to commemorate the change to constitutional monarchy.
Abkhazia, November 26 (1994). See Constitution of Abkhazia.
Andorra, March 14 (1993). Known locally as Dia de la Constitució. See Constitution of Andorra.
Argentina, May 1 (1853). See Constitution of Argentina. Not a public holiday.
Armenia, July 5 (1995). See Constitution of Armenia.
Australia, July 9 (1900). See Constitution of Australia. Not a public holiday.
Azerbaijan, November 12 (1995). See Constitution of Azerbaijan. Not a public holiday.
Belarus, March 15 (1994). Known locally as Dzień Kanstytucyji. See Constitution of Belarus.
Belgium, July 21 (1890). Known locally as Nationale feestdag van België (in Dutch) and Fête nationale belge (in French).
Day of the Flemish Community, July 11 (Flemish community only). Known locally as Feestdag van Vlaanderen.
French Community Holiday, September 27 (French-speaking community only). Known locally as Fête de la Communauté française.
Wallonia Day, third Sunday of September (Walloon Region only).
Day of the German-speaking Community of Belgium, November 15 (German-speaking community only). Known locally as Feiertag der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft.
Brazil, November 15 (1889). Known in Brazil as Dia da Proclamação da República (Republic Day). See Constitution of Brazil. Public holiday.
Cambodia, September 24 (1993). See Cambodia Constituent Assembly.
Canada Day, July 1 (1867). Also known as Fête du Canada (in French). See Constitution of Canada.
China, December 4 (1982). See Constitution of the People's Republic of China.
Cook Islands, August 4 (1965). Known locally as Te Maeva Nui Celebrations. See Politics of the Cook Islands.
Denmark, June 5 (1849, 1953). Known locally as Grundlovsdag. See Constitution of Denmark.
Dominican Republic, November 6 (1844). See History of the Dominican Republic.
Ethiopia, July 16 (1931). See 1931 Constitution of Ethiopia.
Faroe Islands, June 5 (1849, 1953). Known locally as Grundlovsdag. See Constitution of Denmark.
Federated States of Micronesia, May 10 (1979).
Fiji, September 7 (2013). First observed in 2016. See 2013 Constitution of Fiji.
Finland, December 6 (1917).
Germany, May 23 (1949). See Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany and German Unity Day. Not a public holiday.
Ghana, January 7 (2019). See Constitution of Ghana.
India, November 26 (1949). Indian Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November. Celebrated all over India. Known locally as Samvidhan Divas. Not a public holiday.
Indonesia, August 18 (1945). See Constitution of Indonesia. Not a public holiday.
Ireland, December 29 (1937). See Constitution of Ireland. Not a public holiday.
Italy, January 1 (1948). See Constitution of Italy.
Japan, May 3 (1947). See Constitution of Japan.
Kazakhstan, August 30 (1995). See Constitution of Kazakhstan.
Kyrgyzstan, May 5 (1993). See Constitution of Kyrgyzstan.
Latvia, May 1 (1920). Day of Inauguration of the Constitutional Assembly of Latvia. See Constitution of Latvia.
Lithuania, October 25 (1992). See Constitution of Lithuania.
Marshall Islands, May 1 (1979). See Compact of Free Association.
Maldives, December 22 (1932).
Mexico, February 5 (1917). Known locally as Día de la Constitución. See Constitution of Mexico. Public holiday for Constitution Day is first Monday of February.
Mongolia, January 13 (1924). See Constitution of Mongolia.
Netherlands, December 15 (1954). Known locally as Koninkrijksdag. See Constitution of the Netherlands. Not a public holiday.
Niue, October 19 (1974). See Niue Constitution Act.
North Korea, December 27 (1972). See Constitution of North Korea.
Norway, May 17 (1814). Known locally as Syttande mai. See Constitution of Norway.
Pakistan, March 23 (1973). See Constitution of Pakistan.
Palau, July 9 (1980). See Constitution of Palau.
Philippines, February 2 (1987). See the 1987 Constitution. Known locally as Araw ng Saligang Batas (in Filipino). First observed in 2002.
Poland, May 3 (1791). Known locally as Święto Konstytucji 3 Maja. See Constitution of 3 May 1791.
Puerto Rico, July 25 (1952). Known locally as Día de la Constitución del Estado Libre Asociado. Also commemorated as Occupation Day (1898). See Constitution of Puerto Rico.
Romania, December 8 (1991). See Constitution of Romania. Not a public holiday.
Russia, December 12 (1993). Has been a working holiday since 2005. See Constitution of Russia.
Serbia, February 15 (1835). Known locally as Dan državnosti. See Constitution of Serbia.
Slovakia, September 1 (1992). Known locally as Deň Ústavy Slovenskej republiky. See Constitution of the Slovak Republic.
South Korea, July 17 (1948). See Constitution of South Korea.
Spain, December 6 (1978). Known locally as Día de la Constitución. See Constitution of Spain.
Sweden, June 6 (1809, 1974). Known locally as Sveriges nationaldag. Also known as the Day of the Swedish flag. See Basic Laws of Sweden.
Switzerland, September 12 (1848). Adoption of the 1st Federal Constitution. See Swiss Federal Constitution. Not a public holiday.
Taiwan, December 25 (1947). See Constitution of the Republic of China. Not a public holiday.
Tajikistan, November 6 (1994). See Constitution of Tajikistan. Not a public holiday.
Thailand, December 10 (1932). Known locally as Wan Ratthathammanun. See Constitution of Thailand.
Turks and Caicos Islands, August 30 (1976).
Ukraine, June 28 (1996). See Constitution of Ukraine.
United States, September 17 (1787). See United States Constitution. Not a public holiday.
Uruguay, July 18 (1830). Known locally as Jura de la Constitución (de la República Oriental del Uruguay). See Constitution of Uruguay.
Uzbekistan, December 8 (1992). Known locally as Konstitutsiya Kuni (in Uzbek). See Constitution of Uzbekistan.
Vanuatu, October 5 (1979). See Constitution of Vanuatu.Family Day
Family Day is a public holiday in South Africa, and in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and soon New Brunswick, in the American states of Arizona and Nevada, in Uruguay, in Vanuatu, in Vietnam, in the Australian Capital Territory, and as the second day of Songkran in Thailand.Father's Day
Father's Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. In Catholic Europe, it has been celebrated on March 19 (St. Joseph's Day) since the Middle Ages. This celebration was brought by the Spanish and Portuguese to Latin America, where March 19 is often still used for it, though many countries in Europe and the Americas have adopted the U.S. date, which is the third Sunday of June. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March, April and June. It complements similar celebrations honoring family members, such as Mother's Day, Siblings Day, and Grandparents' Day.International Workers' Day
International Workers' Day, also known as Workers' Day, May Day or Labour Day in some countries and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement which occurs every year on May Day (1 May), an ancient European spring festival.The date was chosen by a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886. The 1904 Sixth Conference of the Second International, called on "all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace."The first of May is a national public holiday in many countries worldwide, in most cases as "Labour Day", "International Workers' Day" or some similar name – although some countries celebrate a Labour Day on other dates significant to them, such as the United States, which celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September.Labour Day
Labour Day (Labor Day in the United States) is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
For most countries, Labour Day is synonymous with, or linked with, International Workers' Day, which occurs on 1 May. For other countries, Labour Day is celebrated on a different date, often one with special significance for the labour movement in that country. Labour Day is a public holiday in many countries.
In Canada and the United States, the holiday is celebrated on the first Monday of September and considered the unofficial end of summer, with summer vacations ending and students returning to school around then.Public holidays in Australia
Public holidays in Australia are declared on a state and territory basis.Public holidays in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has numerous public holidays, including national memorial, religious and secular holidays of Bengali origin. The Bengali traditional calendar, known as Banggabda is the national and official calendar in Bangladesh. The holidays are celebrated according to Bengali, Islamic or Gregorian calendars for religious and civil purposes, respectively. Religious festivals like Eid are celebrated according to the Islamic calendar whereas other national holidays are celebrated according to the Bengali and Gregorian calendar. While the Islamic calendar is based on the movement of the moon, it loses synchronization with the seasons, through seasonal drift. Therefore, some public holidays are subject to change every year based on the lunar calendar.
There are fifteen public holidays in Bangladesh. Muslims and non-Muslims have four religious holidays each in addition to the secular seven national holidays. For the Muslims, four major Islamic holidays: Muharram, Mawlid, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha are observed. For the Hindus: Krishna Janmashtami and Durga Puja are celebrated. As for the Christians and Buddhists: Christmas and Vesak (one day each) are celebrated.Public holidays in Malaysia
Public holidays in Malaysia are regulated at both federal and state levels, mainly based on a list of federal holidays observed nationwide plus a few additional holidays observed by each individual state and federal territory. The public holidays are a mix of secular holidays celebrating the nation and its history, and selected traditional holidays of the various ethnic and religious groups that make up the country.
The legislation governing public holidays in Malaysia includes the Holidays Act 1951 (Act 369) in Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan, the Holidays Ordinance (Sabah Cap. 56) in Sabah and the Public Holidays Ordinance (Sarawak Cap. 8) in Sarawak.
The workweek and weekend varies between states, with most states and federal territories observing a Saturday–Sunday weekend, while Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu observe a Friday–Saturday weekend. In states and territories with a Saturday–Sunday weekend, a public holiday that falls on Sunday is substituted by a holiday on Monday (or the next working day if Monday itself is a public holiday). In Johor and Kedah, a public holiday that falls on Friday is replaced by Sunday or the next working day, while in Kelantan and Terengganu, a public holiday that falls on Saturday is replaced by Sunday or the next working day.Public holidays in Pakistan
Pakistan holidays are celebrated according to the Islamic or Gregorian calendars for religious and civil purposes, respectively. Religious festivals like Eid are celebrated according to the Islamic calendar whereas other national holidays like international labour day, Pakistan day, and Quaid-i-Azam Day are celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar.Public holidays in South Africa
A list of current public holidays in South Africa:
The Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994) states that whenever a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following it will be a public holiday.Public holidays in Ukraine
Public holidays in Ukraine
The following are public holidays in Ukraine.
Religious holidays are observed according to the Julian calendar (but here the Gregorian date of Christmas is written).
When a public holiday falls on a weekend (e.g. Saturday or Sunday), the following working day (e.g. Monday) turns into an official day off too.
If only one or only two working days are between a public holiday and another day off then the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine usually releases a recommendation to avoid this gap by moving these working days onto a certain Saturday (that is to have uninterrupted vacations, but to compensate this by work on another day which would be a day off). Usually such recommendations only concern those employees whose weekly days off are Saturday and Sunday.Public holidays in the Republic of Ireland
These are the public holidays observed in Ireland. Public holidays in Ireland (as in other countries) may commemorate a special day or other event, such as Saint Patrick's Day or Christmas Day. On public holidays (sometimes incorrectly referred to as bank holidays - a colloquialism), most businesses and schools close. Other services, for example, public transport, still operate but often with reduced schedules.
The nine public holidays in Ireland each year are as follows:
Note that where a public holiday falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, or possibly coincides with another public holiday, it is generally observed (as a day off work) on the next available weekday, even though the public holiday itself does not move. In such cases, an employee is entitled to at least one of the following (as chosen by the employer): a day off within a month, an additional day's paid annual leave or an additional day's pay. The usual practice is, however, to award a day off on the next available weekday.Public holidays in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, public holidays are days on which most businesses and non-essential services are closed, although an increasing number of retail businesses (especially the larger ones) do open on some of the public holidays. There are restrictions on trading on Sundays and Christmas Day in England and Wales and on New Year's Day and Christmas Day in Scotland. Legally defined holidays, analogous to "public holidays" in many other countries, are usually called bank holidays in the United Kingdom, but can also be referred to as "public holidays"; strictly, however, "public holidays" refer to "common law holidays", the observance of which derive from custom and practice (see "Terminology" below).Public holidays in the United States
The schedule of public holidays in the United States is largely influenced by the schedule of federal holidays but is controlled by private sector employers who employ 62% of the total US population with paid time off. A typical work week has historically been 40 hours a week with a Saturday–Sunday weekend, although many professionals are currently expected to work 50 hours a week for fixed salary.
Public holidays with paid time off is generally defined to occur on a day that is within the employee's work week. When a holiday occurs on Saturday or Sunday, that holiday is shifted to either Friday or Monday. Most employers follow a holiday schedule similar to the federal holidays of the United States, with exceptions or additions. The federal holiday schedule mainly benefits employees of government and government regulated businesses. However, this sector only comprises 15% of the working population.
At the discretion of the employer, other non-federal holidays such as Christmas Eve and the Day after Thanksgiving are common additions to the list of paid holidays while Columbus Day and Veterans Day are common omissions. Besides paid holidays are festival and food holidays that also have wide acceptance based on sales of goods and services that are typically associated with that holiday. Halloween and Valentine's Day are such examples of widely celebrated uncompensated holidays.Victory in Europe Day
Victory in Europe Day, generally known as V-E Day, VE Day or simply V Day, was celebrated on 8 May 1945 to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces. The formal surrender of the German forces occupying the Channel Islands did not occur until the following day, 9 May 1945. It thus marked the end of World War II in Europe.
The term VE Day existed as early as September 1944, in anticipation of victory. On 30 April 1945, Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin. Germany's surrender, therefore, was authorised by his successor, Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz. The administration headed by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg Government. The preliminary act of military surrender was signed on 7 May in Reims, France, and the final document was signed on 8 May in Berlin, Germany.
The former Soviet Union, Serbia, and Eastern Bloc countries have historically celebrated the end of World War II on 9 May; Israel marks VE Day on 9 May as well as a result of the large number of immigrants from the former Soviet Bloc, although it is not a public holiday. In Ukraine since 2015, 8 May is designated as a day of Remembrance and Reconciliation, but it is not a public holiday.Waitangi Day
Waitangi Day is the national day of New Zealand, and commemorates the signing, on 6 February 1840, of the Treaty of Waitangi. Ceremonies take place at Waitangi, Northland to commemorate the signing of the treaty, which is regarded as New Zealand's founding document. The day is observed annually and is designated a public holiday, unless 6 February falls on a Saturday or Sunday, when the Monday that immediately follows becomes the public holiday.
Public holidays of the World