Public Holidays In Nigeria – Complete List & Dates of Holidays in Nigeria: Public holidays in Nigeria (complete List): A Nigerian holiday is a great time to plan an enthralling vacation with your family and friends. Some of these world holidays are Christmas day, democracy day, Eid al Adha, etc. Besides these holidays there are such Nigerian observances as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. It will be nice to note that observances are different from public holidays. Each of these is now a part of many cultures and spans the country making them truly domestic holidays. Then there are the religious Nigerian holidays like Eid al Adha that are celebrated in quite a few places despite its religious overtones.
There is also the fact that families and friends get together to have fun while the children play. As you see, Nigerian holidays are celebrated everywhere both by residents at home and abroad. Nigerian holidays come in all shapes and sizes and are loved by everyone, especially the school kids who get a free day off!
Without further ado, let’s delve into a complete review of the full list of Nigerian public holidays. Please note that as stated earlier, observances are very different from public holidays. Some of the big names you know might not appear on the list because they are just observances. Would you really take a break from work because of Valentine!!!!
Nigeria, an African country on the Gulf of Guinea, has many natural landmarks and wildlife reserves. Protected areas such as Cross River National Park and Yankari National Park have waterfalls, dense rainforest, savanna, and rare primate habitats. One of the most recognizable sites is Zuma Rock, a 725m-tall monolith outside the capital of Abuja that’s pictured on the national currency.
Full List of Nigerian Public Holidays.
1. New year day – Jan 1st
New Year’s Day, also simply called New Year, is observed on 1 January, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar. In the present day, Nigerians now using the Gregorian calendar as their de facto calendar, New Year’s Day is among the most celebrated public holidays in the country often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts.
2. Good Friday – April 10th
Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as a part of the Paschal Triduum about the Friday preceding Easter Sunday and usually coincides with the Jewish observance of Passover. It’s also called Holy Friday, Great Friday, along with Black Friday.
Members of many Christian denominations, including the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, Oriental Orthodox, and Reformed traditions, celebrate Good Friday with the church and fast services.
3. Easter Monday – April 13th
Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is a holiday in some countries including Nigeria. Easter Monday has always been of importance because it appears with lots of cheers and fun to people and offers a chance to spend moments with loved ones.
4. Workers evening – May 1st
Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day in some other countries and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of laborers and the working classes that are promoted by the Nigerian labor movement which occurs every year on May Day; 1st May.
5. Eid al Fitr – May 24th
After 30 days of Ramadan fasting, the Muslims use the first day of the next month to celebrate breaking the fast. In fact, it would be noteworthy to say that the word Eid al fitr means “festival of breaking the fast ”
Eid al Fitr additional day – May 25th – Just a continuation of the first holiday.
6. Democracy Day – June 12th
Democracy Day marks the day the military handed over power to an elected civilian government in 1999, marking the beginning of the longest continuous civilian rule since Nigeria’s independence from colonial rule in 1960. It is a tradition that has been held annually, beginning in the year 2000. June 12 was formerly known as Abiola Day celebrated in Lagos, Nigeria and some southwestern states of Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Democracy Day is a public holiday to commemorate the restoration of democracy in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. May 29 was initially the official democracy day in Nigeria, marking when the newly elected Olusegun Obasanjo took office as the President of Nigeria in 1999, ending multiple decades of military rule that began in 1966 and had been interrupted only by a brief period of democracy from 1979 to 1983.
On June 6, 2018, eight days after May 29, 2018, had been celebrated as Democracy Day, the President Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria declared June 12 to be the new Democracy Day. Buhari would give his inaugural address for his second term on June 12, 2019. These were done to commemorate the democratic election of MKO Abiola on June 12, 1993, in what has been adjudged to be Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections. It was, however, canceled by the Ibrahim Babangida Junta. MKO Abiola was later detained after he declared himself the president.
7. Eid al Adha – July 31st
This is referred to as the festival of sacrifice. But, before Abraham could sacrifice his son, God provided a goat to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this intervention, an animal is sacrificed ritually and divided into three parts. One share is given to the poor and needy, another is kept for home, and the third is given to relatives.
In the Islamic lunar calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days. In the international (Gregorian) calendar, the dates vary from year to year shifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.
Eid al Adha additional day – August 1st – Continuation of the previous holiday.
8. Independence Day – October 1st
In 1914, the Southern Nigeria Protectorate was combined with the Northern Nigeria Protectorate to create the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, which has the borders of modern-day Nigeria. By the late 1950s, the call for independence of territories in Africa and the decline of the British Empire led to the country being granted independence on 1 October 1960 as the Federation of Nigeria. Three years later, the constitution was amended and the country was declared the Federal Republic of Nigeria with Nnamdi Azikiwe, previously Governor-General, as the first President.
Independence Day is an official national holiday in Nigeria celebrated on the first of October. It marks Nigeria’s proclamation of independence from British rule on 1 October 1960. The holiday is celebrated annually by the government of Nigeria. The festivities begin with the President’s address to the people, which is broadcast on radio and television. Another integral part of the festivities is the military parade in Abuja, the parade of students and unions to the folk music and concerts of famous artists
9. Christmas Day – December 25th
According to the traditional Christmas narrative, the Nativity of Jesus, delineated in the New Testament says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with messianic prophecies. When Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn had no room and so they were offered a stable where the Christ The child was soon born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who then further disseminated the information.
Although the month and date of Jesus’ birth are unknown, the church in the early twentieth century fixed the date as December 25. This contrasts with the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar. Many Christians celebrate December 25 from the Gregorian calendar, which was embraced almost universally from the calendars. However, part of the Eastern Christian Churches celebrates Christmas on December 25 of the Julian calendar, which now corresponds to January 7 at the Gregorian calendar. For Christians, believing that God came into the world in man’s form to atone for humanity’s sins, as opposed to knowing Jesus’ arrival date, is considered to be the principal purpose in celebrating Christmas.
10. Boxing Day – December 26th
Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day, hence being the day of Christmastide. It originated in the United Kingdom and can be celebrated in a number of states that formed a part of the British Empire with Nigeria inclusive. Boxing Day is really on 26 December, but the connected bank holiday or public holiday may occur either on that day or two days later.
In areas of Europe, such as Romania, Hungary, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as a Second Christmas Day.
Summary of Public Holidays In Nigeria.
|Holiday date||Holiday name||Holiday Type|
|Wed, January 1||New Year’s Day||Public Holiday|
|Sun, March 8||Women’s Day||Observance|
|Fri, March 20||March equinox||Season|
|Fri, April 10||Good Friday||Public Holiday|
|Sat, April 11||Holy Saturday||Observance, Christian|
|Sun, April 12||Easter Day||Observance, Christian|
|Mon, April 13||Easter Monday||Public Holiday|
|Fri, May 1||Workers’ Day||Public Holiday|
|Sun, May 24||Id el Fitr||Public Holiday|
|Mon, May 25||Id el Fitr additional holiday||Public Holiday|
|Wed, May 27||Children’s Day||Observance|
|Fri, May 29||Democracy Day||Public Holiday|
|Fri, June 12||June 12 Commemoration||Local Holiday|
|Sat, June 20||June Solstice||Season|
|Fri, July 31||Id el Kabir||Public Holiday|
|Sat, August 1||Id el Kabir additional holiday||Public Holiday|
|Thu, August 20||Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year)||Local Holiday|
|Tue, September 22||September equinox||Season|
|Thu, October 1||National Day||Public Holiday|
|Thu, October 29||Id el Maulud||Public Holiday|
|Mon, December 21||December Solstice||Season|
|Thu, December 24||Christmas Eve||Observance, Christian|
|Fri, December 25||Christmas Day||Public Holiday|
|Sat, December 26||Boxing Day||Public Holiday|
|Thu, December 31||New Year’s Eve||Observance|
By: Oyeniyi Michael Barry