It is said that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” but apparently this phrase does not apply to Jack alone as we all need some sort of rest from work from time to time, hence the need for a public holiday every now and then, however, some countries seem to be overdoing it. It is on record that while countries like Mexico, Canada, and the UK get 8 public holidays in a year and South Africa, the USA, Spain, Italy, and Greece, get 12. Cambodia tops the list with 28 public holidays in a year; this is an average of 2.33 per month, making it the highest in the world at the moment.
In Africa, Eygpt tops the list with 21 public holidays in a year, and Nigeria is not left behind as it takes the stage as one of the countries in Africa with the highest number of holidays in a year observing between 13 and 15 public holidays annually. 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 Nigerian public holidays are not only limited to these religious celebrations as the nation also observes national and international holidays.
A Brief History of Public Holidays In Nigeria
The law that establishes public holidays in Nigeria is known as the Public Holiday Act, enacted in January 1979. The law nullified the previous public holidays observed in the country during the colonial rule and the first republic and established a new rule for making public holidays for the nation, its states, and local areas.
With this new law, any sitting Nigerian President has the power to declare holidays either for the entire country or any state or part of the country it deems fit. Any sitting governor of any of the 36 States also has the power to declare public holidays in either their state or for any part of their state they deem fit. The law also grants the nation’s sitting Minister for Internal Affairs the right to change designated holiday dates when they feel it is necessary or appropriate to do so.
Moveable And Immovable Holidays In Nigeria
There are two types of holidays: moveable and immovable holidays, and holidays in Nigeria fall into these categories. A moveable is a holiday whose date is not fixed to a particular day in a calendar year, meaning it can occur on different dates every year.
Immoveable or fixed holidays are holiday that occurs on the same date every year irrespective of the weekday it falls on. In some countries, like Nigeria, if the holiday falls on a weekend or clashes with another holiday, the day after may be taken as a holiday in lieu of the holiday.
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.
|Easter Monday||Christian holiday celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.|
|Eid al-Adha||This is a Muslim festival to commemorate the willingness and obedience of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ishmael.|
|Eid al-Fitr||Ramadan is the Islamic calendar’s ninth month and focuses on devotion to Allah and self-sacrifice. Ramadan comes to an end with the Eid al-Fitr festival, with Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan.|
|Good Friday||This holiday is observed on Friday coming before Easter Sunday, commemorating the suffering or the passion of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross.|
|Mawlid||Muslim holiday celebrating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.|
|Boxing Day||December 26||Christian holiday commemorating the day after Christmas.|
|Children’s Day||May 27||School holiday for Children.|
|Christmas Day||December 25||Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus and celebrated December 25 every year.|
National And International Public Holiday Observations In Nigeria
Apart from the above Nigerian Public Holidays, the country also observes international celebrations such as Worker’s and New Year Day and some national commemorations.
Some of these commemorations include Democracy Day, which takes place every June 12 (Formerly May 29). Democracy day in Nigeria commemorates the formal end of military rule in the nation and the enthronement of civilian rule. The other national commemoration is Independence Day, which takes place every October 01.
|New Year’s Day||January 01||Commemorates the beginning of the calendar year.|
|Workers’ Day||May 01||Commemorates the Workers’ labour movement internationally.|
|Democracy Day||June 12||Commemorates the return to Democracy in Nigeria. It was formerly celebrated on May 29.|
|Independence Day||October 01||Commemorates the Independence of Nigeria from Britain.|
Nigeria Public Holidays for 2022
Here is a breakdown of all the official public holidays Nigeria will observe in 2022. However, it should be noted that they could be more holidays as the government can declare public for some other reasons or celebrations outside these ones.
|New Year’s Day||Saturday, January 01, 2022|
|Good Friday||Friday, April 15, 2022|
|Easter Monday||Monday, April 18, 2022|
|Workers’ Day||Sunday, May 01, 2022|
|Id-el-Fitr||Monday, May 02, 2022|
|Id-el-Fitr Holiday||Tuesday, May 03, 2022|
|Children’s Day||Friday, May 27, 2022|
|Democracy Day||Sunday, June 12, 2022|
|Id el Kabir||Saturday, July 09, 2022|
|Id el Kabir Holiday||Sunday, July 10, 2022|
|Independence Day||Saturday, October 01, 2022|
|Id el Maulud||Saturday, October 08, 2022|
|Christmas||Sunday, December 25, 2022|
|Boxing Day||Monday, December 26, 2022|
It should also be noted that some of these holidays that fall on weekends, or clash with another holiday, may be taken the day after as a holiday in lieu of the holiday.
Nigeria Public Holidays for 2023
Here is a breakdown of all the official public holidays Nigeria will observe in 2023. However, it should be noted that there could be more holidays as the government can declare public for some other reasons or celebrations outside these ones. Some of the dates for the Islamic holidays are tentative and may not be the exact dates stated below.
|New Year’s Day||Sunday, January 01, 2023|
|Good Friday||Friday, April 07, 2023|
|Easter Monday||Monday, April 10, 2023|
|Id-el-Fitr||Friday, April 21, 2023|
|Id-el-Fitr Holiday||Saturday, April 22, 2023|
|Workers’ Day||Monday, May 01, 2023|
|Children’s Day||Saturday, May 27, 2023|
|Democracy Day||Monday, June 12, 2023|
|Id el Kabir||Wednesday, June 28, 2023|
|Id el Kabir Holiday||Thursday, June 29, 2023|
|Independence Day||Sunday, October 01, 2023|
|Id el Maulud||Wednesday, September 27, 2023|
|Christmas||Monday, December 25, 2023|
|Boxing Day||Tuesday, December 26, 2023|