Everyone loves the sound of public holidays. Generally, public holidays in Nigeria are days of celebration and rest from work. A public holiday, national holiday or legal holiday is a holiday established by the law of a land and is usually a one in which the people are free from work.
It could be the anniversary of a significant event in a Nation’s history or a religious celebration. Holidays can fall on specific days of the year, a holiday could also be tied to a certain day of the week or a certain month. It could also follow other calendar systems like the Lunar Calendar.
List of Public Holidays in Nigeria in 2019
- January 1: New Year’s Day (Commemorates the beginning of the calendar year)
- February 22: Election Day/ Special Public holidays Public Holiday
- April 19: Good Friday
- April 22: Easter Monday
- May 1: Workers’ Day (Commemorates Workers’ labour movement Internationally)
- May 27: Children’s Day (School holiday for Children)
- May 29: Presidential Inauguration Holiday
- June 4: Eid el Fitr
- June 5: Eid el Fitr holiday
- June 12: Democracy Day (Commemorates the return to Democracy in Nigeria)
- August 12: Eid-el Kabir
- August 13: Eid-el Kabir additional holiday
- September 1: Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year)
- October 1: National Day ( Commemorates the Independence of Nigeria from Britain)
- November 10: Eid-el Maulud
- December 25: Christmas Day (Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus)
- December 26: Boxing Day
There have been recent additions to the list of public holidays in Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria recently declared June 12 as the country’s new Democracy Day. This was done in recognition of Chief MKO Abiola who won the June 12, 1993, election.
May 29, which was the former democracy day will now be celebrated in commemoration of the beginning of the second four-year term of President Muhammadu Buhari. Both days have therefore been earmarked as public holidays.
Movable Holidays in Nigeria
Movable holidays are those that occur on different dates every year
- Mawlid Nabiyy: Muslim holiday for the celebration of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.
- Eid al-Adha: Muslim holiday for the celebration of the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son.
- Eid al-Fitr: Muslim holiday for the celebration of the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting.
- Good Friday: Christian holiday celebrating the crucifixion of Jesus.
- Easter Monday: Christian holiday celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ Easter.
Public Holidays Act: Chapter 378, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria
Public Holidays are founded on the Public Holidays Act, Chapter 378 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
This law gives the power to appoint certain days as public holidays and to alter dates appointed as public holidays.
Laws of the Federation of Nigeria
On the 1st of January, 1979, there was an Act to repeal all the State Laws on public holidays and to make provisions for the entire nation for public holidays and other related matters
The days mentioned in the Schedule to this Act are to be upheld as public holidays throughout Nigeria.
This Act gave the President the power to by public notice appoint a day not included in the Act as a public holiday either throughout the entire federation or in a part of the country.
- Subject to section 1 of the Public Holiday Act and subsection (1) of this section, a State Governor may appoint a special day to be a public holiday in that particular state or in a part of it.
- The day chosen shall be kept as a public holiday
- The Act stated that any day declared as a ‘public holiday’ therefore becomes a work-free day.
- The Minister for Internal Affairs (hereinafter referred to as “the Minister”) may by public notice, in the case of a religious public holiday, adherents of that religion have lawful rights to take time off work in celebration of the religious festival
- No one can be compelled to perform any action on a day appointed to be a public holiday
Schedule of the Public Holiday Act
- New Year’s Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Workers’ Day (1st May)
- National Day (1st October)
- Christmas Day
- Any day declared by the Minister to be a public day in celebration of the Festival of Id el Fitr
- Any day declared by the Minister to be a public day in celebration of the Festival of Id el Kabir
- Any day declared by the Minister to be a public day in celebration of the Festival of Id el Maulud, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammed
Additional Stuffs about Public Holidays
Sovereign nations and territories observe holidays based on significant events in their history. For example, the Independence day where Nigeria celebrates when she got her Independence from her colonial masters. Nigeria’s independence is celebrated on the 1st of October, 2019.
A civic holiday, also known as a working holiday is a day that is legally recognized and celebrated as a holiday in a particular sovereign state or jurisdictional subdivision of a nation, such as a state or a province. It is usually a day that the legislature, congress, or parliament, has declared by decree, statute or edict as a non-working day. On this day, the official arms of government such as the court system are closed.