Public Holidays Around the World

In a fairly comprehensive review of which countries provide what number of holidays, the United States comes in on the low end. Technically there are no national holidays in this country, only federal ones. As this CRS report explains: “Although these patriotic celebrations are frequently referred to as “national holidays,” legally they are only applicable to federal employees and the District of Columbia. Neither Congress nor the President has asserted the authority to declare a “national holiday” that would be binding on the 50 states. Each state individually decides what its legal holidays will be. Creating a holiday for federal employees does, however, affect each state in a variety of ways, including the delivery of mail, bank transactions, and business conducted with federal agencies.”(1) India and Colombia provide the largest number of holidays – 18, while Mexico allows 7. The United States list 10 holidays. A bit of trivia – did you know there is an eleventh federal holiday that falls every four years? It is Inauguration Day for which federal employees in Washington, D.C. and surrounding counties get the day off.

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