Public holidays are usually to honor important historical dates or the religious traditions of specific countries. But sometimes the reasons behind them can be quite surprising for non-citizens! Which countries celebrate a coming of age day? Is January 1st a day off throughout the entire globe? Which nationality is lucky enough to have the greatest number of days off annually? Let’s look at 5 interesting things about public holidays worldwide!

When you take a look at the world calendar of public holidays, you can find common patterns for most of the countries. Public holidays are often set to celebrate the most important dates for each country. The calendar is full of Constitution Days, Independence and National Hero Days, as well as days to honor the birthdays of historical figures , religious festivals, and… Full Moon Days! We went through the calendar and put the most interesting facts about public holidays worldwide together. Ever wondered if New Year’s Day is a day off on the whole planet Earth? Wonder no more, and enjoy! :)

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Which countries have the greatest number of public holidays?

When you take a look at the list of public holidays in the world, Asian countries are in the lead, with Cambodia being the true king of them all! Cambodians enjoy 28 public days off annually. Sri Lanka takes second place with 25 days off, followed by both India and Kazakhstan with 21 days of public holidays. And how do things look on other continents? Europe’s podium is taken by Turkey (16 days), followed closely by Lithuania and Sweden (15 days). Out of the two Americas, Colombia (18), Argentina (15) and Chile (14) occupy the leading positions.

Which countries do not celebrate Christmas?

Christmas is one of the most popular public holidays. Even non-Christian countries celebrate it, but not all of them. What is important is that Christmas is set on December 25th most often, being a day off in most cases. But there are also Orthodox, Armenian and Coptic Christmases, celebrated on the 6th (Armenian) and 7th of January. Still, 30 countries do not have Christmas marked in their calendars at all, with Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam among them.


Is the January 1st a day off all over the world?

January 1st is the most popular public holiday on Earth, with 90% of the globe enjoying a day off on that day. That does not mean that the remaining 10% does not celebrate the New Year. They do, but some countries follow the Jewish or Coptic calendar and simply celebrate it later. What is interesting is that there are five countries where January 1st is a public holiday, but not due to it being New Year’s day. Cubans celebrate the Triumph of the Revolution, Czechs the Restoration Day of the Independent Czech State, Haitians and Sudanese their Independence Day, Slovakians the Day of the Establishment of the Slovak Republic. Well, any reason is good to celebrate!

Carnival as the public holidays? Why not!

Public holidays are not always to celebrate serious, historical events or religious traditions. Some countries decided to offer their citizens free time just to have fun! Several countries in Latin America and Caribbean celebrate the Carnival Monday and Tuesday right before Ash Wednesday, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines celebrating on July, and Grenada in August.

What are the most unusual Public Holidays?

When it comes to the most unusual Public Holidays, Japan definitely takes the lead ! The country celebrates Coming-of-age Day, Mountain Day and Respect for the Aged Day, just to name a few! Japan is not the only one. Bangladesh celebrates Language Martyrs' Day, Pakistan Kashmir Day, Qatar National Sports Day, North Korea Tree Planting Day and Cambodia Water Festival Ceremony Holiday. All those holidays are public holidays, with days off to celebrate!

If you are an HR Manager working with an international, remote team, there’s a lot to learn and remember. That is why we recommend taking a look at the global calendar mentioned above and planning your employees’ leaves in advance, marking them in the leave management system that you use.

And what do you think about the number of public holidays in your country? Is it too high, just fine, or you would like to add some more - like Nutella Day, for example? :)

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