Public holidays in Botswana

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Public holidays in Botswana
Flag of Botswana.svg
Observed by Batswana
Type National
Frequency Annual

Public holidays in the Botswana are largely controlled by government sector employers who are given paid time off. The government holiday schedule mainly benefits employees of government and government regulated businesses. At the discretion of the employer, other non-federal holidays such as Christmas Eve are common additions to the list of paid holidays.

Major Christian holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday are officially observed, leave is permitted for other religious holidays as well. For example, some school children and employees take days off for Muslim holidays, Hindu holidays, or Eastern Orthodox observances according to the Julian calendar. While not normally taken off work, Valentine's Day, Halloween, Mother's Day, and Father's Day are traditionally observed by Batswana.

Public holidays

A public holiday (also known as "stats" or "general" or "statutory" holiday) in Botswana is legislated through the parliament of Botswana.[1] Most workers, public and private, are entitled to take the day off with regular pay. However, some employers may require employees to work on such a holiday, but the employee must either receive a day off in lieu of the holiday or must be paid at a premium rate – usually 1½ (known as "time and a half") or twice (known as "double time") the regular pay for their time worked that day, in addition to the holiday pay.[2]

Nationwide public holidays in Botswana

Good Friday in Botswana 2015:April 10 | 2016: April 29 | 2017: April 17
Date Name Remarks
January 1 New Year's Day Celebrates the first day of every year in the Eastern calendar.
April Good Friday Commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.[a]
April or May[b] Easter Monday Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.[c]


May 1 Labour Day Celebrate the achievements of workers.[4][5]
May or June[d] Ascension Commemorates the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven.[6][7]
July 1 Sir Seretse Khama Day Celebrate birth of the first president.[8]
July (Tuesday 3rd Monday) Presidents' Day A one-day holiday held on the third Monday of July.[9]
September 30 Independence Day (Botswana) The date celebrates Botswanal's Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on September 30, 1966.[10]
October 1 Botswana Day holiday Celebrates economic and social achievements of workers.
December 25 Christmas Day Celebrates the Nativity of Jesus.
December 26 Boxing Day Celebrated on the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would traditionally receive gifts known as a "Christmas box" from their masters, employers or customers.[11]

Holidays with religious and cultural significance

The religious and cultural holidays in Botswana are characterized by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices.

Christian holidays

Some private businesses and certain other institutions are closed on Good Friday. The financial market and stock market is closed on Good Friday. Most retail stores remain open although some might close early. Public schools and most universities are closed on Good Friday, either as a holiday of its own, or part of spring break. The postal service operates, and banks regulated by the federal government do not close for Good Friday.

Many companies, including banks, malls, shopping centers and most private retail stores that normally open on Sundays are closed on Easter.

Box of Valentine chocolates, typically sold around Valentine's Day
Date Name Remarks
February 14 Valentine's Day St. Valentine's Day, or simply Valentine's Day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. Modern traditional celebration of love and romance, including the exchange of cards, candy, flowers, and other gifts.
February or March, date varies Ash Wednesday Closes with Ash Wednesday (40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays), which starts the penitential season of Lent in the Western Christian calendar.
Sunday before Easter Palm Sunday Celebration to commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
The Friday before (Eastern) Easter Good Friday Friday of Holy Week, when Western Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Federal banks and post offices that are located in buildings that close for Good Friday and Easter will also be closed. Many public and private schools, colleges, universities and private-sector businesses; and the Botswana Stock Exchange and financial markets are closed on Good Friday.
Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, date varies from March 22 to April 25, inclusive (see Computus), Easter Celebration of the resurrection of Jesus in most Western Christian churches. Many Batswana decorate hard-boiled eggs and give baskets of candy, fruit, toys and so on, especially to children; but gifts of age-appropriate Easter baskets for the elderly, the infirm and the needy are increasingly popular. Not a federal holiday due to the fact that it always falls on a Sunday, which is a non-working day for federal and state employees. Many companies that are normally open on Sunday close for Easter.
October 31 Halloween Originally the end of the Celtic year, it now celebrates Eve of All Saint's Day. Decorations include jack o'lanterns. Costume parties and candy such as candy corn are also part of the holiday. Kids go "trick-or-treating" to neighbors who give away candy.
December 24 Christmas Eve Day before Christmas. Virtually every business closes early, though a few remain open 24 hours.
December 25 Christmas Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a Federal Holiday.

Muslim holidays

According to various sources, the major holidays of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha have been recognized in the United States. Awareness of these holidays can be found in calendars published by Muslim calendar manufacturers.

Mehndi is the application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration, commonly applied during Eid al-Fitr in Indian subcontinent culture.
Date Name Remarks
depends on Muslim calendar(in this year is on June and July) Ramadan Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان‎‎ Ramaḍān, IPA: [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn];[variations] Persian: رَمَضان‎‎ Ramazān; Urdu / Punjabi رَمْضان Ramzān; Turkish: Ramazan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar;[12] Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting.[13][14] This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.[15] The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.[16][17] The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness.[18] Fasting is fard ("obligatory") for adult Muslims, except those who are ill, traveling, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding.[19] Fasting the month of Ramadan was made obligatory (wājib) during the month of Sha'aban, in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina.
depends on Muslim calendar (in this year is on 16 of July) Eid al-Fitr Eid al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر‎‎ ʻĪd al-Fiṭr, IPA: [ʕiːd al fitˤr], "festival of breaking of the fast"), also called Feast of Breaking the Fast, the Sugar Feast, Bayram (Bajram), the Sweet Festival[20] and the Lesser Eid, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). The religious Eid is a single day and Muslims are not permitted to fast on that day. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. This is a day when Muslims around the world show a common goal of unity. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality. However, in most countries, it is generally celebrated on the same day as Saudi Arabia(lunar calendar).
depends on Muslim calendar (in this year is on 24 of September) Eid al-Adha Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى‎‎ ʿīd al-aḍḥā [ʕiːd ælˈʔɑdˤħæ] meaning "Festival of the sacrifice"), also called the Feast of the Sacrifice, the Major Festival,[21] the Greater Eid, Kurban Bayram (Turkish: Kurban Bayramı; Bosnian: kurban-bajram), Eid e Qurban (Persian: عید قربان‎‎) or Bakr'Eid (Urdu: بکرا عید‎), is the second of two religious holidays celebrated by Muslims worldwide each year. It honors the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ishmael (Ismail)a as an act of submission to God's command, before God then intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead.[22] In the lunar-based Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days.[23] In the international Gregorian calendar, the dates vary from year to year, drifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.

Other religious, traditional, and informal holidays celebrated in Botswana

In addition to the federal/national 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 businesses as holidays (Except for Easter and most often also on Good Friday); indeed, many are viewed as opportunities for commercial promotion.

Date Name Remarks
March 8 International Women's Day A day set aside to honor women and their accomplishments in history.
April 1 April Fools' Day A day that people commonly play tricks or jokes on family, friends, and co-workers, especially in English-speaking nations. Sometimes called "the Feast of All Fools" as a play on the feast days of saints; there is no evidence the holiday has any Christian religious origins.
April 22 (varies by location and observance) Earth Day A celebration of environmentalism.
Last Friday in April Arbor Day A day for planting trees.
Second Sunday in May Mother's Day Honors mothers and motherhood (made a "federal holiday" by Presidential order, although most federal agencies are already closed on Sundays)
First Sunday in June Children's Day Proclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2001 to honor children.[24]
Third Sunday in June Father's Day Honors fathers and fatherhood.
August 26 Women's Equality Day Celebrates the fight for, and progress towards, equality for women. Established by the United States Congress in 1971 to commemorate two anniversaries: Passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution ensuring Woman Suffrage in 1920 and a nationwide demonstration for equal rights, the Women's Strike for Equality, in 1970.
December 31 New Year's Eve Final Day of the Gregorian year. Usually accompanied by much celebration, such as party and fireworks. Virtually every company and retail outlet closes early, except for stores that sell alcoholic beverages and party supplies.

See also


  1. ^ Non-federally regulated employers must give either Good Friday or Easter Monday as a statutory holiday, though some give both days.
  2. ^ Date varies because of Western and Eastern Christianity.
  3. ^ Non-federally regulated employers must give either Good Friday or Easter Monday as a statutory holiday, though some give both days.
  4. ^ Date varies because of Western and Eastern Christianity.


  1. ^ "Botswana Public Holiday Act" (PDF). 
  2. ^ "BSE - Public Holidays and None Trading days". Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  3. ^ Vicki K. Black (1 July 2004). The Church Standard, Volume 74. Church Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9780819225757. Retrieved 7 April 2012. In parts of Europe, the eggs were dyed red and were then cracked together when people exchanged Easter greetings. Many congregations today continue to have Easter egg hunts for the children after the services on Easter Day. 
  4. ^ Marsh, James H. "Origins of Labour Day". Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  5. ^ "History of Labour Day". National Labour Day 2008. Jamaica Information Service. 
  6. ^ "Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated each year on the fortieth day after the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha (Easter). Since the date of Pascha changes each year, the date of the Feast of the Ascension changes. The Feast is always celebrated on a Thursday. 
  7. ^ "Rules to Order the Christian Year". Church of England. 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. Rogation Days are the three days before Ascension Day, when prayer is offered for God's blessing on the fruits of the earth and on human labour. The nine days after Ascension Day until Pentecost are days of prayer and preparation to celebrate the outpouring of the Spirit. 
  8. ^ "Mmegi Online :: A glimpse of Seretse Khama's legacy". Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  9. ^ "Botswana Presidents Day". Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  10. ^ "Botswana profile - Timeline". BBC News. 2016-08-05. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  11. ^ (pseud.), Peter Parley (1838-01-01). Tales About Christmas. Thomas Tegg and Son. 
  12. ^ BBC - Religions. Retrieved 2012-07-25
  13. ^ "Muslims worldwide start to observe Ramadan". Global Times. 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "The Muslim World Observes Ramadan". Power Text Solutions. 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "Schools - Religions". BBC. Retrieved 2012-07-25. 
  16. ^ Bukhari-Ibn-Ismail, AbdAllah-Muhammad. "Sahih Bukhari - Book 031 (The Book of Fasting), Hadith 124.". Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  17. ^ Muslim-Ibn-Habaj, Abul-Hussain. "Sahih Muslim - Book 006 (The Book of Fasting), Hadith 2378.". Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Muslim-Ibn-Habaj, Abul-Hussain. "Sahih Muslim - Book 006 (The Book of Fasting), Hadith 2391.". Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  19. ^ Fasting (Al Siyam) - الصيام - Page 18, el Bahay el Kholi, 1998
  20. ^ Elias, Jamal J. (1999). Islam. Routledge. p. 75. ISBN 0415211654. 
  21. ^ Elias, Jamal J. (1999). Islam. Routledge. p. 75. ISBN 0415211654. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  22. ^ Diversity Calendar: Eid al-Adha, University of Kansas Medical Center
  23. ^ "BBC – Religion & Ethics – Eid el Adha". Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  24. ^ Children's Day

External links


  • Dates for Easter 1583–9999
  • A Perpetual Easter and Passover Calculator Julian and Gregorian Easter for any year plus other info
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