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Public holidays in India

India, being a culturally diverse and fervent society, celebrates various holidays and festivals; however, there are only three national holidays in India: Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August) and Mahatma Gandhi's birthday (2 October).[1][2]

States have local festivals depending on prevalent religious and linguistic demographics. Popular Hindu festivals of Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Maha Shivratri, Onam, Janmashtami, Saraswati Puja, Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Raksha Bandhan, Holi, Durga Puja, Dussehra and Diwali; Jain festivals are Mahavir Jayanti and Paryushan; Sikh festivals like Guru Nanak Jayanti and Vaisakhi; Muslim festivals of Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, Mawlid, Muharram; Buddhist festivals like Ambedkar Jayanti, Buddha Jayanti, Dhammachakra Pravartan Day and Losar; Parsi Zoroastrian holidays such as Nowruz, and Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter as well as days of observances such as Good Friday are observed throughout India.

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.

They are:

Date English name Commemorates
26 January Republic Day Adoption of the Constitution of India[3] (1950)
15 August Independence Day Independence from the British Empire (1947)
2 October Gandhi Jayanti Birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869)

Religious holidays

In India peoples from various religions coexist together. People from different religions celebrate their festivals. It is not that a particular festival is celebrated by the peoples of only particular religion but, people from other religions also plays great role in the celebration of the festival of other religions.[citation needed]

Hindu holidays

People celebrating Holi in Delhi.

Hindus celebrate a number of festivals all through the year. Hindu festivals have one or more of religious, mythological and seasonal significance. The observance of the festival, the symbolisms used and attached, and the style and intensity of celebration varies from region to region within the country. A list of the more popular festivals is given below.

For dates see:

Holiday Observed in
Bhogi/Lohri Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra (as Bhogi), Punjab (as Lohri)
Makar Sankranti/Maghi/Magh Bihu/Pongal Andaman & Nicobar, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam (as Magh Bihu), Gujarat (as Uttarayan), Karnataka, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, West Bengal (as Makar Sankranti), Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh (as Maghi), Rajasthan (as Makar Sankranti), Pongal / Tamilar Thirunaal (Tamilnadu)
Vishu Kerala, Tamil Nadu
Vasant Panchami (Aka, Saraswati Puja) Telangana, Odisha, Tripura, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra
Ratha Saptami Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka
Maha Shivaratri Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Punjab, Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal
Holi (Aka, Dol) All states and territories except Kerala, Nagaland, Mizoram, Goa, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu and Bangalore.
Gudi Padwa/Ugadi/Puthandu Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu
Ram Navami Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal
Hanuman Jayanti Maharashtra, Odisha, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh (as Bada Mangal), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Akshaya Tritiya/Maharishi Parashurama Jayanti Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh
Rath Jatra Odisha, Gujarat
Nag Panchami or Guga-Navami all states and territories except Goa
Raksha Bandhan (Aka, Rákhi Púrńimá) Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana, Odisha, Punjab, Maharashtra, Telangana.
Krishna Janmashtami Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal
Ganesh Chaturthi Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Odisha, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab
Raja Parba Odisha
Mahalaya Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha
Dussehra/Durga Puja all states
holiday for 2 days in Andhra Pradesh, mainly in Telangana (after Bathukamma), Bihar, Kerala, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh
holiday for 3 days in Odisha, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, and Tripura
holiday for 6 days in West Bengal
11th day Bhashani Utchhav in Odisha
Kumara Purnima (a.k.a. Kojaagari Pornima) Maharashtra (as Kojaagari Pornima), Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal
Diwali (Aka, Káli Puja, Deepavali and Diipávali) all states and territories
observed for 2 days in Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka, Odisha,
observed for 5 days in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and delhi
observed for 6 days in Maharashtra
Vasu Baras (a.k.a. Govatsa Dwadashi) - Maharashtra
Dhan Teras (a.k.a. Dhan Trayodashi) - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar
Naraka Chaturdashi - all states except Tamil Nadu
Lakshmi Puja - Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, West Bengal and Tripura, Telangana
Goverdhan Pooja - all states except Tamil Nadu
Bhai Duj (Aka, Bhau-beej, Yama Dwitiya, Bhai Phota) Maharashtra, Goa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab.
Devotthan Ekadashi Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and some parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh
Hartalika Teej Maharashtra, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh
Jagaddhatri Puja West Bengal
Vishwakarma Puja Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal.
Nuakhai Odisha
Chhath Puja Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab
Bathukamma Telangana
Bonalu Telangana

Islamic holidays

Mawlid or Eid-e-Milād-un-Nabī being celebrated in a town in Uttar Pradesh.
Holiday Day and month of Hijri Observed in
Day of Ashura 10th Muharram. Death of Imam Hussain ibn Ali All States & Territories.
Prophet Mohammad's Birthday
Rabi' al-awwal All States & Territories.
Birthday of Ali ibn Abi Talib Terah Rajab
Hazrat Ali
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
Shab-e-Barat Mid-Sha'ban Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
Last Friday in Ramadan Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh
Eid ul-Fitr
عيد الفِطر
Eid/Ramazan Eid
End of Ramadan all states and territories
18 Dhu al-Hijjah Telangana
Eid al-Adha
عيد الأضحى‎
10 Dhu al-Hijjah all states and territories[4]

Sikh holidays

A number of Sikh holidays are Gurpurbs, anniversaries of a guru's birth or death; marked by the holding of a festival.

Holiday Observed in
Guru Gobind Singh Ji Gurpurab Bihar, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab,Haryana
Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji Punjab
Vaisakhi Andaman & Nicobar, Assam, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal
Guru Nanak Gurpurab Andaman & Nicobar, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu

Christian holidays

Shops selling Christmas decorations in Kolkata.
Date Holiday Observed on
1 January

An Act of Thanksgiving, for the Blessings of the Past Year Prayer for a Blessing on the New Year

New Year Day All States and territories
14 April (2019)

Holy Day of Obligation

Palm Sunday All States and territories
18 April (2019) Maundy Thursday Meghalaya, Mizoram and Goa
19 April (2019) Good Friday All states and territories
21 April (2019) Easter Sunday All states and territories
9 June (2019) Feast of Pentecost All states and territories
3 July (2019) Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle Kerala
5 September (2019)

A "mother to the poor"

Fest of St. Theresa of Calcutta West Bengal
8 September (2019) Feast of the Blessed Virgin Goa and Parts of Karnataka
1 November (2019)

Dedicated to All Saints

All Saints Day Karnataka
2 November (2019)

Dedicated to those who have died and not yet reached heaven

All Souls Day Mizoram
3 December (2019) Feast of St. Francis Xavier Goa
25 December (2019) Christmas Day All states and territories
26 December (2019) Boxing Day Telangana[5]
30 December (2019) Feast of Holy Family Meghalaya

Buddhist holidays

Holiday Observed in
Buddha Purnima Andaman & Nicobar, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana,Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Punjab
Dhammachakra Pravartan Day Maharashtra
Losar Sikkim, Ladakh

Jain holidays

Holiday Observed in
Mahavir Jayanti Andaman & Nicobar, Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab
Paryushan Andaman & Nicobar, Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, 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 American and European Parsis have adapted their own version of the Fasli calendar. This is however looked down upon by many 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)
Gujarat, Maharashtra, Pondicherry, Punjab

Ravidassia holidays

Holiday Observed in
Guru Ravidass Jayanti Chandigarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh.

Ayyavazhi holidays

The Masi Procession to Swamithope Pathi during Ayya Vaikunda Avatar
Holiday Observed in
Ayya Vaikunda Avataram Tamil Nadu[6]

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

Date Holiday Observed in
1 January New Year's Day Most of India
13 - 17 January Pongal Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu
14 January Uttarayan Gujarat
23 January Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's Jayanti Odisha, Tripura, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam
August or September Onam Kerala, Pondicherry
19 February Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti Maharashtra
20 February Arunachal Pradesh Statehood Day
1st Day of Chithirai, March–April Vishu / Varusha Pirappu or Puthandu
(Malayali & Tamil New Year)
Kerala, Tamil Nadu
2nd Day of Chaitra, March–April Cheti Chand
(Sindhi New Year)
Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh
15 March Kanshi Ram's Jayanti Uttar Pradesh
22 March Bihar Day Bihar
30 March Rajasthan Day Rajasthan
1 April Utkala Dibasa
(Odisha day)
14 April Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's Jayanti Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal
14/15 April Puthandu
(Tamil New Year)
Tamil Nadu
14/15 April Pohela Boishakh
(Bengali New Year)
Tripura, West Bengal
15 April Bihu
(Assamese New Year)
15 April Maha Vishuva Sankranti / Pana Sankranti
(Odia New Year)
1 May Labour Day (not a Gazetted holiday)[7][8] Telangana, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, West Bengal, Odisha, Rajasthan, Punjab
1 May Maharashtra Day Maharashtra
1 May Gujarat Day Gujarat
9 May Rabindra Jayanti West Bengal
16 May Annexation Day Sikkim
2 June Telangana Formation Day Telangana
15 June Maharana Pratap Jayanti Rajasthan
Purnima of Ashvin Month Valmiki Jayanti Haryana,Delhi,Punjab,Himachal Pradesh,Karnataka
26 October Accession Day Jammu and Kashmir
31 October Sardar Patel Jayanti Gujarat
1 November Karnataka Rajyotsava Karnataka
1 November Andhra Pradesh Foundation Day Andhra Pradesh
1 November Haryana Foundation Day Haryana
1 November Madhya Pradesh Foundation Day Madhya Pradesh
1 November Kerala Foundation Day Kerala
1 November Chhattisgarh Foundation Day Chhattisgarh
3rd Day of Kartika (month) Krishna Paksha (November) Kanaka Jayanti Karnataka
7 December Armed Forces Flag Day Indian military

The large number of holidays

While having so many government holidays is 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 Government Pay Commissions have recommended the abolition of all Central Government holidays on religious festivals, and instead, substituting them with the three national holidays, i.e., Independence Day (15 August), Republic Day (26 January) and Gandhi Jayanti (2 October).

Increasing the number of restricted holidays (optional holidays), depending on one's religious persuasion, from the existing two to eight was also proposed, the rationale being that eight holidays can more than cater to the festivals of any particular religion. So, there is no point in having more than that number of holidays since religion does not warrant a Hindu to celebrate Eid or a Muslim to celebrate Diwali.

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

Holidays in government offices

Central and State governments in India issue annually a list of holidays to be observed in the respective government offices during the year.[9] The list is divided into two parts:

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

In addition, local administrations also issue a list of holidays known as local holidays, which are observed at the district level.

Central government

The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (Department of Personnel and Training) on behalf of the Government of India issues a list of holidays to be observed in central government offices during the year. The list is divided in two parts i.e. Annexure I & Annexure II.[9]

Annexure I

Annexure I also known as Gazetted holidays, consists of a list of holidays that are mandatory once decided.[9] This list consists of two parts:

  • Para 2
  • Para 3.1
Para 2

It consists of holidays that are observed compulsorily across India.[9] These holidays are:

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

so all the holidays are there

Para 3.1

In addition to the 14 compulsory holidays mentioned in para 2, three holidays are chosen from the list 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 applied uniformly across all Central Government offices within each State. They are notified after seeking the prior approval of this Ministry, and no changes can be made thereafter. No change is permissible in regard to festivals and dates.[9]

  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. Onam
  9. Sri Panchami/Basanta Panchami
  10. Vishu/Vaisakhi/Vaisakhadi/Bhag Bihu/Mashadi Ugadi/Chaitra Sakladi/Cheti Chand/Gudhi Pada 1st Navratra/Nauraj

Annexure II

Annexure II also known as Restricted holidays, consists of a list of holidays which are optional. Each employee is allowed to choose any two holidays from the list of Restricted Holidays. The Coordination Committees at the State Capitals draw up a separate list of Restricted Holidays, keeping in mind the occasions of local importance, but the nine occasions left over, after choosing the three variable holidays in para 3.1, are included in the list of restricted holidays.[9]

Central government organisations

Central Government Organisations, which include industrial, commercial and trading establishments, observe up to 16 holidays per 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.[9]

Union territory administrations

Union territory administrations decide the list of holidays based on 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 and Mahatma Gandhi's birthday.[9]

Indian missions abroad

In respect of Indian missions abroad, the number of holidays is determined in accordance with the instructions contained in the Department of Personnel and Training's O.M. No.12/5/2002-JCA dated 17 December 2002. They have the option to select 11 (eleven) holidays of their own only after including the three National Holidays and Diwali, Milad-Un-Nabi or Id-E-Milad, Mahavir Jayanti, Idu'l Fitr, Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami), Guru Nanak's Birthday, Christmas Day as compulsory holidays falling on weekdays.[9]


In respect to banks, the holidays are restricted to 15 days per year in terms of the instructions issued by the Department of Economic Affairs (Banking Division).[9]

  1. Bank Holiday
  2. Gandhi Jayanti
  3. Mahavir Jayanti
  4. Maharaja Agresen Jayanti
  5. Kashiram Death Anniversary
  6. Dussehra (Maha Navami)
  7. Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami)
  8. Dusshera (Maha Navaratri, Durgotsava, Durga Ashtami, Durga Ashtami)
  9. Deepawali
  10. Deepawali (Govardhan Puja)
  11. Bhai Duj/Chitragupt Jayanti
  12. Eid al-Adha (Bakrid)
  13. Guru Nanak's birthday/Kartik Poornima
  14. Dr. B R. Ambedkar's Nirwan Diwas
  15. Moharram
  16. Christmas
  17. New Year's Day
  18. International Women's Day
  19. Gudhi Padwa
  20. Guru Gobind Singh Ji Gurpurab
  21. Makar Sankaranti
  22. Basanta Panchami
  23. Guru Ravidas Jayanti
  24. Chehalum
  25. Holi
  26. Easter Saturday
  27. Easter Monday
  28. Baishakhi
  29. Janmashtami
  30. Vishwakarma Pooja
  31. Eid ul fitr
  32. Ganesh Chaturthi
  33. Anant chaturdasi
  34. Dussehra (Maha Ashtami)
  35. Maharshi Balmiki Jayanti
  36. Deepawali (Narak Chaturdasi)
  37. Eid ul Adha (Bakrid)
  38. Guru Teg Bahadur Shahid Diwas
  39. Moharram
  40. Christmas

See also


  1. ^ National holidays
  2. ^ National and Public holidays
  3. ^ "Introduction to Constitution of India". Ministry of Law and Justice of India. 29 July 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  4. ^ []
  5. ^ Dec.26 declared public holiday
  6. ^ Thousands take part in Ayya Vaikundar Avatar day - The Hindu, India's National Daily, 04-03-2012, ' " The government had also declared a restricted holiday on Saturday, for the first time, in the State in view of Ayya Vaikundar Avatar day. " '
  7. ^ []
  8. ^ []
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Holidays to be observed in central government offices during 2017 Note a new version of this document is released each year, and old versions may not be available beyond one or two years previous. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.