Which holidays are celebrated in cities around the world?. Image 1.

Joni Sweet

Author

Cover Photo:
Daniel Berehulak/
Getty Images

 

With the holidays upon us, Hopes&Fears got to wondering: how often and in what way do cities around the world celebrate? To find the answer, we researched government-recognized holidays in cities around the world, taking into consideration when banks and government offices close for specific days of observance. Schools in most cities close on these holidays, but they sometimes shut down for other unofficial holidays, as well, which were not included in this research. 

The results? Most metropolises honor between 6-12 holidays a year and the majority of cities celebrate New Year’s Day and Labor Day (though not always on the same days). While Mumbai doesn’t officially celebrate either of the most popular holidays, they actually party the most frequently, with 24 official annual holidays.

Below, find our list of the number of holidays celebrated in 12 cities around the world. We've ordered the list by starting with the cities with the fewest recognized holidays and ending with those with the most. We recommend using this knowledge to impress your family while you munch on your turkey, light your menorah or sweep up your house for Diwali. 

 

 

Mexico City

Mexico

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7

Holidays Every year

List of holidays: New Year’s Day, Constitution Day, Benito Juarez’s Birthday, Labor day, Independence Day, Revolution Day, Christmas

Notes: While many cities published their list of official holidays in English as well as the local language, researching Mexico City required a bit of translation work (thank you, Google Translate). In addition to the seven annual public holidays, Mexico City is granted a special holiday on Dec. 1 every six years as a new president takes power. Schools celebrate more holidays than are officially recognized by the government, often closing for Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Day of the Dead, and others.

 

 

Beijing

China

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7

Holidays Every year

List of holidays: New Year’s Day, Chinese Lunar New Year, Tomb Sweeping Day, International Labor Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese National Day

Notes: Some important Beijing holidays, including the Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and Tomb Sweeping Day, shift dates each year, as per the Chinese Lunar Calendar. One distinctive aspect of the Chinese holiday system is that workers must complete a shift on the weekends (which are usually time off) if a holiday occurred on a weekday that week.

 

 

London

UK

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8

Holidays Every year

List of holidays: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, Boxing Day, Christmas Day

Notes: While the high quantity of leisure time granted to European workers is envied by people around the world, only a small portion of it comes in the form of recognized holidays. Beyond New Year’s Day and major Christian holidays, London shuts down for a few “bank holidays” each year in the spring and summer. Other cities in the United Kingdom, however, honor additional holidays not officially recognized in London.

 

 

Berlin

Germany

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8

Holidays Every year

(9 if you count Christmas as two days)

List of holidays: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labor Day, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, Day of German Unity (only national holiday set by federal law), Christmas, Second Christmas Day

Notes: The only holiday set by Germany’s federal administration is the Day of German Unity commemorating the reunification of the country in 1990. The states determine their own holiday schedules individually. Berlin chooses to honor a range of Christian holidays, as well as New Year’s Day and Labor Day. For Christmas, Berliners are treated to a generous two days off.

 

 

Moscow

Russia

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8

Holidays Every year

List of holidays: New Year Holidays (Jan. 1-2), Orthodox Christmas, Day of the Defendant of Motherland, International Women’s Day, Spring & Labor Holiday, Victory Day, Russia Day, Day of People’s Unity

Notes: Moscow goes quite nationalist with its set of holidays, honoring the achievements and culture of the Russian people. Moscow also has an official holiday honoring women and closes for two days for the New Year.

 

 

Johannesburg

South Africa

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12

Holidays Every year

List of holidays: New Year’s Day, Human Rights Day, Good Friday, Family Day, Freedom Day, Workers Day, Youth Day, National Women’s Day, Heritage Day, Day of Reconciliation, Christmas Day, Day of Goodwill

Notes: Unlike other some cities, Johannesburg celebrates a large range of secular holidays, such as Family Day, National Women’s Day and Human Rights Day. Many holidays, such as Youth Day and National Women’s Day, also commemorate milestones in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa.

 

 

Buenos Aires

Argentina

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12

Holidays Every year

List of holidays: New Year’s Day, Jueves Santo, Good Friday, Labor Day, Revolution Day, Independence Day, Day of the Immaculate Conception, Christmas, Malvinas War Veterans Day, Flag Day, San Martin Memorial Day, Columbus Day

Notes: Three-day weekends are more frequent in Buenos Aires than other cities, as holidays that fall on Tuesday or Wednesday are usually honored on the Monday before, while holidays that occur Thursday to Sunday are celebrated on the following Monday. Most of the holidays in Buenos Aires are Christian or historical in theme.

 

 

New York City

USA

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12

Holidays Every year

List of holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas

Notes: Employees of New York City have no excuses not to vote—they get Election Day off each year, giving them plenty of time to cast their ballots. At a dozen holidays, the city offers the equivalent of one day off each month. However, no holidays are observed in March, April or June.

 

 

Los Angeles

USA

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12

Holidays Every year

List of holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Presidents’ Day, Cesar Chavez Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas

Notes: Los Angeles, you lucky dog—you get the prized Friday after Thanksgiving off! The city celebrates the same number of holidays as its East Coast counterpart (New York), but in slightly different fashions: the birthdays of Presidents Lincoln and Washington are honored on the same day, as President's Day (also a national holiday) and the city is one of just a handful in the United States that closes office in honor of workers’ rights leader Cesar Chavez.

 

 

Melbourne

Australia

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13

Holidays Every year

List of holidays: New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Labour Day, Good Friday, Saturday After Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Queen’s Birthday, Friday Before AFL Grand Final, Melbourne Cup, Christmas Day, Boxing Day

Notes: With more than a dozen official holidays, Melbourne comes in third place for number of officially recognized days. They honor the standard New Year’s Day, Labor Day, and Christian Holidays, but sports fans get the added bonus of days off for significant horse races and the day before the big Australian Rules Football Grand Final.

 

 

Tokyo

Japan

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16

Holidays Every year

List of holidays: New Year’s Day, Coming-of-Age Day, National Foundation Day, Vernal Equinox Day, Showa Day, Constitution Day, Greenery Day, Children’s Day, Marine Day, Mountain Day, Respect-for-the-Aged Day, Autumnal Equinox, Health-Sports Day, Culture Day, Labor Thanksgiving Day, The Emperor’s Birthday

Notes: Japan gets a new annual holiday starting in 2016: Mountain Day, one of a few holidays in the Shinto culture that honors nature. While Tokyo has a reputation for stressful jobs and overworked employees, the city shuts down for 16 holidays each year—more than most other cities on this list.

 

 

Mumbai

India

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24

Holidays Every year

List of holidays: Republic Day, Mahashivratri, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti, Holi (Second Day), Gudi Padwa, Ram Vami, Mahavir Jayanti, Good Friday,  Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti, Maharashtra Din, Buddha Pournima, Ramzan Id (Id-Ul-Fitar) (Shawal-l), Independence Day, Parsi New Year (Shahenshahi), Ganesh Chaturthi, Bakri Id (Id-Ul-Zua), Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti, Dasara, Moharum, Diwali Amavasya (Laxmi Pujan), Diwali (Balipratipada), Guru Nanak Jayanti, Id-E-Milad, Christmas

Notes: Mumbai may not officially recognize New Year’s Day, but they celebrate two dozen other holidays. This list was tough to nail down, as some holidays change from year to year (for example, Hindu holiday Bhau-beej was added to the 2015 schedule under a government resolution). All of India honors Independence Day, Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday and Republic Day, but states determine their own holiday recognition individually, usually based on the diverse religions that coexist in the same regions.

 

Sources New York City: 1 Los Angelos: 1, 2 London: 1 Berlin: 1, 2 Mumbai: 1, 2 Melbourne: 1 Moscow: 1, 2 Johannesburg: 1 Mexico City: 1, 2 Buenos Aires: 1, 2 Beijing: 1, 2, 3 Tokyo: 1, 2, 3