Bank holiday weekend: how do our public holidays stack up against the rest of the world?

Have you ever wondered how other countries fare when it comes to public holidays?

The Thingyan Water Festival is one of Myanmar's biggest public holidays (photo: Adobe)
The Thingyan Water Festival is one of Myanmar's biggest public holidays (photo: Adobe)

The UK’s imminent summer bank holiday weekend may have got us thinking about our neighbours elsewhere in the world.

With the August festivities almost upon us, researchers have shared which countries enjoy the most time off work for public holidays.

Across the world the figure varies but it may come as a surprise to learn that in some nations employees are offered more than four weeks’ worth of days off annually.

Holiday car rental experts at StressFreeCarRental.com have pinpointed the best places to live for those trying to bag as many bank holidays as possible.

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Spanning the globe, workers are entitled to time off for a range of occasions including holidays, memorial days, religious traditions and historical events.

“If you’re going for a holiday, then it’s good to familiarise yourself with the cultural calendar of your chosen destination in order to plan your trip more efficiently,” said a spokesperson for StressFreeCarRental.com.

“It’s useful to know if you should be expecting any public holidays while you’re abroad, because it can mean that a lot of places will be closed for days.

“If you’re considering relocating, this list may help you decide which countries are best when you want to kick back and get paid for doing nothing.”

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Researchers found out which countries celebrate the most national holidays in 2022, based on information provided by Office Holidays.

Here is StressFreeCarRental.com’s list of countries with the highest number of public holidays for this year:

Myanmar 30

The first place goes to Myanmar, where you can receive a full month’s worth of paid free days in a year to celebrate different holidays.

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One of the biggest occasions in Myanmar is the water festival Thingyan in the middle of April, which is also the hottest time of the year. In 2022 Thingyan was celebrated for eight consecutive days.

Sri Lanka is not far off from the first place holder and offers its workers 29 public holidays per year.

Their public holiday calendar is filled with Poya holidays, which occur every full moon, thus they have at least one day off per month.

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They commemorate significant Buddhist events, and during Poya, the sale of alcohol, meat and fish is forbidden.

Iran and Nepal 27

The third place is shared between two countries - Iran and Nepal.

Novruz, or the Iranian new year, is celebrated for two weeks in the spring.

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An interesting fact about the public holidays in Nepal is that there is a day off dedicated solely for women.

The Haritalika Teej festival is a day when Nepalese Hindu women all around the country fast, worship Lord Shiva, sing and dance.

Azerbaijan 25

Like in Iran, Azerbaijanis also celebrate Novruz, which is the Persian New Year that marks the beginning of spring.

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By law, workers must receive five days off from work for Novruz.

Azerbaijanis celebrate the Gregorian New Year at the beginning of January in addition to the Persian New Year, so they are also given an additional four days off work for that.

Egypt, Bangladesh and Lebanon 23

These three countries share the same number of public holidays and since Islam is the predominant religion in all three nations, they all celebrate the most significant feast in the Muslim calendar.

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The three-day Feast of Sacrifice, or Eid al-Adha, which is commemorated in July, honours the sacrifices made by Prophet Abraham for God.

Besides having a feast with their loved ones, another important tradition is donating money, food and clothes to the poor.

Philippines 22

In the Philippines there are two types of holidays: regular holidays and special non-working days.

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One example of the latter is the Chinese New Year, which isn’t an automatically paid holiday for everyone, but those who work on the day are entitled to 30 per cent extra pay.

Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are also special non-working days.

Cambodia and Argentina 21

Southeast Asian nation Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy and Buddhism is the most popular religion there.

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This may be seen in the country's public holidays, many of which are dedicated to the monarchy or Buddhism.

One of the royal holidays is the King’s Mother’s birthday on June 18.

In Argentina, however, you can get two days off from work because of the annual carnival. The festival marks the start of Lent, which is a 40-day period when many Argentines refrain from eating meat on Fridays.