Public holidays in India

Public holidays in India

India, being a culturally diverse and fervent society, celebrates various holidays and festivals. There are three national holidays in India: states and regions have local festivals depending on prevalent religious and linguistic demographics. Popular religious festivals include the Hindu festivals of Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Dussehra, Islamic festivals of Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Mawlid an-Nabī and Christian festivals of Christmas and days of observances such as Good Friday are observed throughout the country.

Muharram, mourning for the Prophet Muhammad's grandson is observed by some sects of Islam. In addition, the Sikh festivals such as Guru Nanak Jayanti, the Christian festivals such as Christmas, Good Friday and Jain festivals like Mahavir Jayanti, Paryushan are celebrated in certain areas where these religions have a significant following.The annual holidays are widely observed by state and local governments; however, they may alter the dates of observance or add or subtract holidays according to local custom.

The following is a List of events that are declared public holidays in the calendar of Government of India or the States or both in some cases:


National holidays

Soldiers of the Madras Regiment during the annual Republic Day Parade in 2004

National holidays are observed in all states and union territories.

India has three national days[1]. They are:

Date English name
26 January Republic Day
15 August Independence Day
2 October Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday

Buddhist holidays

Holiday Observed in
Losar Sikkim, Ladakh
Buddha Purnima Andaman & Nicobar, Arunachal Pradesh,Tripura, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh

Christian holidays

Date Holiday Observed in
Holy Thursday all states and territories except Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tripura
Good Friday all states and territories except Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tripura
Easter Sunday all states and territories except Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tripura
3 December St. Francis Xavier Goa
25 December Christmas Day all states and territories

Hindu holidays

People celebrating Holi.

Hindus celebrate a number of festivals all through the year. From celebrating the advent of spring to celebrating the win of good over evil, Hindu religion and culture provide its followers endless reasons to celebrate. Given below is the list of just a few of these festivals that are celebrated with great zest and fervor.

For dates see:

Holiday Observed in
Bhogi Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu
Sankranti Andaman & Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam [as Magh Bihu (Sankranti)], Bihar [as Makar Sankranti], Gujarat [as Uttarayan], Karnataka, Orissa[as Makar Sankranti], Puduchery, Tamil Nadu[as Pongal], Rajasthan
Thiruvalluvar Day Puduchery, Tamil Nadu
Uzhavar Thirunal
(Farmers' Day)
Tamil Nadu
Vasant Panchami/Saraswati Puja Orissa, Tripura, West Bengal, Bihar
Maha Shivaratri Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Haryana
Naag Panchami all states and territories except Goa, Punjab
Holi (Aka, Dol) all states and territories except Karnataka, Kerala, Nagaland, Puduchery, Tamil Nadu and Tripura
Maharishi Parasuram Jayanti Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh
Rath Jatra Orissa
Raksha Bandhan (Aka, Rákhi Púrńimá) Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana, Orissa
Krishna Janmashtami Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal
Ganesh Chaturthi Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Puduchery, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka
Onam Kerala, Puduchery
Raja Parba Orissa
Mahalaya Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Orissa
Dussehra (Aka, Durgá Pujá) all states

observed for 2 days in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh
observed for 3 days in Orissa, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura
observed for 6 days in West Bengal
11th day Bhashani Utchhav in Orissa

Lakshmi Puja / Kumara Purnima Orissa, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura
Diwali (Aka, Káli Puja and Diipávali) all states and territories

observed for 2 days in Assam, Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh

Hartalika Teej Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh
Sharad Poornima Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhatisgarh
Bhai Duj (Aka, Bhái photá) Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra
Jagaddhatri Puja West Bengal
Visvakarma Puja Orissa, West Bengal
Nuakhai Orissa

Islamic holidays

Holiday Observed in
Day of Ashura
10th Day of Muharram
Andaman & Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka,Kerala Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand
Baarah Wafaat
Prophet's Birthday
Andaman & Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka,Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Puduchery, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand
Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana , Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jahrkhand, West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
Birthday of Ali ibn Abi talib
Terah Rajab
Hazrat Ali
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
Last Friday in Ramadan
Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh
Eid ul-Fitr
End of Ramadan
all states and territories
Eid al-Adha
Feast of the Sacrifice
all states and territories

Jain holidays

Holiday Observed in
Mahavir Jayanti Andaman & Nicobar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh

Parsee (Zoroastrian) holidays

Note: The Parsis in India use a Shahenshahi calendar, unlike the Iranians who use a Kadmi calendar. The North Americans and European Parsis have adapted their own version of the Fasli calendar. This is however looked down upon by a lot of the Parsis in North America, who continue to use the Shahenshai calendar. These differences cause changes in the dates of the holidays. For example, the Zoroastrian New Year falls in the spring for the Iranians but in the summer for the Parsis

Holiday Observed in
(Parsee New Year)

Sikh holidays

Holiday Observed in
Guru Gobind Singh Ji Gurpurab Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab
Ravidas' Birthday Chandigarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab
Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji Punjab
Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurpurab Andaman & Nicobar, Assam, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal

Secular holidays

In addition to the official holidays, many religious, ethnic, and other traditional holidays populate the calendar, as well as observances proclaimed by officials and lighter celebrations. These are rarely observed by Central government and businesses as holidays.

Date Holiday Observed in
1 January New Year's Day Most of India
23 January Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's Birthday Orissa, Tripura, West Bengal
19 February Maharaja Shivaji's Birthday Maharashtra
15 March Kanshi Ram's Birthday Uttar Pradesh
22 March Bihar Day Bihar
30 March Rajasthan Day Rajasthan
1 April Utkal Dibasa
(Orissa day)
14 April Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's Birthday Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Puduchery, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh
2nd Day of Chaitra, March–April Cheti Chand
(Sindhi New Year)
Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh
1st Day of Chaitra, March–April Gudi Padva
(Marathi New Year)
Goa, Maharashtra
1st Day of Chaitra, March–April Ugadi
(Kannada and Telugu New Year)
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Puduchery, Tamil Nadu
15 April Bihu
(Assamese New Year)
15 April Maha Vishuva Sankranti / Pana Sankranti
(Oriya New Year)
15 April Poylá Boishakh
(Bengali New Year)
Tripura, West Bengal
15 April Vishu & Varusha Purapu
(Malayali & Tamil New Year)
Kerala, Tamil Nadu
1 May Labour Day Assam, Bihar, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Puduchery, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, West Bengal, Orissa
1 May Maharashtra Day Maharashtra
1 May Gujarat Day Gujarat
16 May Annexation Day Sikkim
15 June Maharana Pratap Jayanti Rajasthan
26 October Accession Day Jammu and Kashmir
1 November Andhra Pradesh Foundation Day Andhra Pradesh
Karnataka Foundation Day Karnataka
Kerala Foundation Day Kerala
Chhattisgarh Foundation Day Chhattisgarh
5 November Kanaka Jayanti Karnataka

Issues with large number of holidays

While having so many Government Holidays keep in line with the idea of peaceful co-existence of all religions, there have been demands from various public bodies that the system of a multitude of religious holidays is hampering economic activities to a great extent. The past two Central Govt. Pay Commissions [1] have recommended the abolition of all Central Govt. Holidays on religious festivals, and instead, substitute with three national Holidays, i.e., Independence Day (15 August), Republic Day (26 January) and Gandhi Jayanti (2 October).

It was also recommended to increase the amount of existing Restricted Holidays (Optional Holidays) depending on one's religious persuasion from existing two to eight. The rationale being, 8 holidays can more than cater for the festivals of any particular religion. So there is no point in having more than these many number of holidays, since religion does not warrant a Hindu to celebrate Id or a Muslim to celebrate Diwali.

With the proposed system, however, it was left to the individual to chose which 8 Holidays to celebrate, irrespective of his religious belief. However, this recommendation has not been accepted by the Govt. of India, fearing a loss of popularity[citation needed], and thus Indian Govt. continues with an unusually large number of religious holidays as compared to most other countries.

Holidays in government offices

Central & State governments in India annually issue list of holidays to be observed in respective government offices during the respective year.[2] List is divided into two parts:

  • Gazetted holidays (Annexure I)
  • Restricted holidays (Annexure II)

Apart from this local administration at district level also issue list of additional holidays known as local holidays, which are observed at district level.

Central government

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (Department of Personnel and Training) on behalf of Government of India issues list of holidays to be observed in central government offices during the respective year. The list is divided in two parts i.e Annexure I & Annexure II.[2]

Annexure I

Annexure I also known as Gazetted holidays, consists of list of holidays which are mandatory once decided.[2] This list consists of two parts:

  • Para 2
  • Para 3.1
Para 2

It consists of holidays which have to be observed compulsorily across India.[2] These holidays are:

  1. Republic Day,
  2. Independence Day,
  3. Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday,
  4. Budha Purnima
  5. Christmas Day
  6. Dussehra (Vijay Dashmi)
  7. Diwali (Deepavali)
  8. Good Friday
  9. Guru Nanak's Birthday
  10. Eid ul-Fitr
  11. Eid al-Adha (Bakrid)
  12. Mahavir Jayanti
  13. Muharram
  14. Prophet Mohammad's Birthday (Id-e-Milad)
Para 3.1

In addition to the above 14 Compulsory holidays mentioned in para 2, three holidays are decided from the list indicated below by the Central Government Employees Welfare Coordination Committee in the State Capitals (if necessary, in consultation with Coordination Committees at other places in the State). The final list is applicable uniformly to all Central Government offices within the concerned State shall. they are notified after seeking prior approval of this Ministry and no change can be carried out thereafter. No change is permissible in regard to festivals and dates.[2]

  1. An additional day for Dussehra
  2. Holi
  3. Janamashtami (Vaishanvi)
  4. Ram Navami
  5. Maha Shivratri
  6. Ganesh Chaturthi / Vinayak Chaturthi
  7. Makar Sankrantili
  8. Rath Yatra
  9. Onam
  1. Sri Panchami / Basanta Panchami
  2. Vishu / Vaisakhi / Vaisakhadi / Bhag Bihu / Mashadi Ugadi / Chaitra Sakladi / Cheti Chand / Gudi Pada 1st Navratra / Nauraj

Annexure II

Annexure II also known as Restricted holidays, consists of list of holidays which are optional. Each employee is allowed to avail any two holidays to be chosen out of the list of Restricted Holidays. The Coordination Committees at the State Capitals draw up separate list of Restricted Holidays keeping in view the occasions of local importance but the 9 occasions left over, after choosing the 3 variable holidays in para 3.1, are to be included in the list of restricted holidays.[2]

Central government organisations

Central Government Organisations which include industrial, commercial and trading establishments observe up to 16 holidays in a year including three national holidays viz. Republic Day, Independence Day and Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, as compulsory holidays. The remaining holidays / occasions may be determined by such establishments / organisations themselves, subject to para 3.2.[2]

Union territory administrations

Union Territory Administrations decide the list of holidays in terms of Ministry of Home Affairs letter No.14046/27 /83- GP-I dated 15 February 1984 by which they observe a total of 16 holidays including the three National Holidays viz. Republic Day, Independence Day & Mahatma Gandhi's birthday.[2]

Indian missions abroad

In respect of Indian Missions abroad, the number of holidays are notified in accordance with the instructions contained in Department of Personnel and Training's O.M. No.12/5/2002-JCA dated 17 December 2002. In other words, they have the option to select 11(Eleven) holidays of their own only after including in the list, three National Holidays and Milad-Un-Nabi or Id-E-Milad, Mahavir Jayanti, Idu'l Fitr, Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami), Guru Nanak's Birthday, Christmas Day included in the list of compulsory holidays and falling on days of weekly off.[2]


In respect of Banks, the holidays are restricted to 15 days in a year in terms of the instructions issued by the Department of Economic Affairs (BankingDivision).[2]


  1. Bank's Holiday
  2. Gandhi Jayanti
  3. Maharaja Agresen Jayanti
  4. Kashiram Death Anniversary
  5. Dussehra (Maha Navami)
  6. Dussehra (Vijay Dashami)
  7. Deepawali
  8. Deepawali (Govardhan Puja)
  9. Bhai Duj/Chitragupt Jayanti
  10. Eid al-Adha (Bakrid)
  11. Guru Nanak's birthday/Kartik Poornima
  12. Dr. B R. Ambedkar's Nirwan Diwas
  13. Moharram
  14. Christmas

Restricted holidays

  1. New Year's Day
  2. Guru Gobind Singh Ji Jayanti
  3. Makar Sankaranti
  4. Basanta Panchami
  5. Guru Ravidas Jayanti
  6. Chehalalum
  7. Holi
  8. Istar Satur-day
  9. Istar Mon-day
  10. Baishakhi
  11. Janmashtami
  12. Vishwakarma Pooja
  13. Eid ul fitr
  14. Anant chaturdasi
  15. Dussehra (Maha Ashtami)
  16. Maharshi Balmiki Jayanti
  17. Deepawali (Narak Chaturdasi)
  18. Eid ul Adha (bakrid)
  19. Guru Teg Bahadur Shahid Diwas
  20. Moharram
  21. Christmas Eve

See also


External links

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