Every year, Nigerians celebrate a total of 15 public holidays. Since Christianity and Islam are the country’s most widely adopted religions, public holidays in Nigeria are mainly made of Christian and Islamic festivals. But then, the Nigeria public holidays are not only limited to these religious celebrations.
There are 4 Christian holidays in the country: Easter Monday, Good Friday, Boxing Day and Christmas Day, and 4 Islamic holidays: Ramadan, Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Fitr and Eid el Kabir. Apart from the above Nigerian Public Holidays, the country also observes international celebrations such as Worker’s and New Year Day, as well as some national commemorations.
Some of these commemorations include Democracy day which takes place every 29th of May. The Democracy day in Nigeria commemorates the formal end of military rule in the nation together with the enthronement of civilian rule, the other national commemoration is the Independence day which takes place every October 1st.
Nigeria Public Holidays for 2018 & 2019
New Year’s Day
This holiday will fall on the first of January of both 2018 and 2019. It is probably the most celebrated public holiday in the world.
This holiday is observed on the Friday coming before Easter Sunday, commemorating the suffering or the passion of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. The holiday took place on 14th April 2017 and in 2018 will be observed on 30th of March. In 2019, it will be observed on 19 April.
Easter Sunday marks the start of Easter week. In 2017, it took place on 16th of April and in 2018 it is scheduled for 1st of April 2018. Workers, however, will be granted Easter Monday as a holiday, which implies that 2nd April 2018 will be a holiday and since 2019 Easter will be on 21 April, 22nd of the month will be a public holiday.
Worker’s day is commemorated on 1st May and is a public holiday in Nigeria that celebrates the working class.
Children’s day is celebrated on various days in many countries across the world to honour children internationally. It was initially proclaimed in 1925 through the World Conference for the Well-being of Children, later universally established in 1954 to allow every child access to education and protect them from working in dangerous circumstances for long hours. In 2017 it was celebrated on May 27 and will take place on the same date in 2018 as well as in 2019.
Democracy day in Nigeria commemorates the formal end of military rule in the nation together with the enthronement of the civilian rule on 29th May 1999. It was celebrated on 29th May 2017, the same date that it will be celebrated in 2018 and 2019.
Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr
Ramadan is the Islamic calendar’s ninth month and focuses on devotion to Allah and self-sacrifice. For the millions of Muslims in Nigeria, Ramadan is marked by fasting, praying and charity.
Ramadan comes to an end with the Eid al-Fitr festival, whereby Muslims break the fast. At the festival, people adorn their homes with decorations and lights, dress in their best clothes, enjoy visits with friends and family, and give treats to children.
In 2018, the Ramadan will begin on Tuesday, 15 May and end on Thursday, 14 June. To this end, the Eid al-Fitr will fall on Friday, the 15th of June 2018. For 2019, the Ramadan will begin on Sunday, 5 May and end on Tuesday, 4 June while the Eid al-Fitr will fall on Wednesday, 5 June 2019. For all these, however, the dates are subject to change.
Eid el Kabir
This is a Muslim festival to commemorate the willingness and obedience of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ishmael. In 2017, it was celebrated on the 2nd of September while it will be celebrated on the 22nd of August in 2018. The 2019 Eid el Kabir will be celebrated on Monday, Aug 12.
This day commemorates Nigeria’s assumption of independent statehood. Like in any other nation, the day is celebrated with festive fervor and great zeal. It falls on the 1st October each year and is observed with unparalleled nationalistic ardor across the country. The Independence Day significance in the country lies in the fact that it binds all Nigerians in one chord not just in the country but in the far lands of Europe and America also.
Christmas is a sacred religious holiday as well as a worldwide commercial and cultural phenomenon. For over two millennia, Christians across the world have been marking it with practices and traditions that are both secular and religious in nature. Christians in Nigeria celebrate the day as the birth of Jesus, the spiritual leader forming their religion’s basis. Popular customs include decorating Christmas trees, exchanging gifts, sharing meals with friends and family, and attending church service. December 25 is a Public holiday in Nigeria.
Boxing Day is a unique Nigerian public holiday taking place on 26th December. It is usually meant for people to unwrap the gifts they received the previous day on Christmas. It is also a day meant to spend time with friends or family members, especially those that were not seen on the day of Christmas itself. Another activity associated with the day is shopping, as it signifies the start of the sales.