The first day of January is observed as New Year’s Day and is a public holiday in almost every country. December 25 is celebrated as Christmas and is a public holiday in many countries worldwide. In the United Kingdom and in many countries of the Commonwealth of Nations, the day following Christmas is celebrated as Boxing Day and is a public holiday. In some European countries, Christmas is celebrated from December 25 to December 26, with December 26 celebrated as St. Stephen’s Day in predominantly Roman Catholic countries. The last day of December is also a half-day or full-day holiday in many countries. The birthday of Christopher Columbus on October 12 is celebrated in many Latin American countries as either Discovery Day or as Día de la Raza.
Buddhist holidays are often celebrated in more industrialized societies on the weekend closest to the day on which the holiday occurs. Different Buddhist traditions celebrate holidays on different dates and various traditions may observe festivals unique to them. Please consult the followers of the tradition in your area for the exact date they will celebrate a given holiday.
Eastern Orthodox Christian
Countries such as Armenia, Greece, Russia, and the Ukraine celebrate holidays according to the Eastern Orthodox religious calendar.
Business openings and work schedules may be significantly affected by Islamic religious festivals and holidays. This is especially true of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which observant Muslims may celebrate for three days. Also, work schedules are often affected during the month of Ramadan. Friday prayer is obligatory and is held from noon until mid-afternoon, although it is also allowed before noon. The Muslim world observes the weekend on different days in different countries: Somalia and Yemen observe the weekend on Thursday and Friday; Afghanistan, Djibouti, Iran, and Palestine observe the weekend on Friday; Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates observe the weekend on Friday and Saturday; Morocco, Pakistan and Tunisia observe the weekend on Saturday and Sunday; and Lebanon observes the weekend either on Thursday and Friday (some Sunni, Druze, and most Shi’a communities) or Saturday and Sunday (Christian and most Muslim communities). Since the Muslim population is very large and geographically diverse, variations in customs will occur. This calendar gives a general idea of traditions and customs surrounding each holiday.
Strictly observant Jews keep the laws of kashrut (keep kosher), and refrain from work on the Sabbath and holidays, except where life is at risk. Prohibitions include traveling (except on foot), writing, switching electricity on and off, using a telephone, and performing transactions of a commercial nature (i.e., buying and selling). Work schedules may be affected by Jewish holidays, especially Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkoth, Passover (8 days), and Shavuot. Jewish religious holidays are public holidays in Israel.
Countries with a majority Christian population will celebrate the major Christian holidays as times when people do not work. In addition, many European countries celebrate the Thursday before through the Monday after Easter as holidays. In some countries where Roman Catholicism is the major religion, the entire Lenten period includes many days when people do not work. Seventh-day Adventists observe the Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.