No, India does not have "too many" holidays.

A common and rather cliched belief among many people is that Indians have "too many" holidays and festivals. Perhaps this notion stems from the fact that India celebrates Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh festivals which might give one the feeling that India has "too many" festivals or holidays.

We have festivals to celebrate a new season, or a God's birthday, or to commemorate our country's freedom fighters. But what country does not celebrate festivals or have holidays for the same reasons? How different is St. Patrick's day from Guru Nanak Jayanthi? Or Memorial Day from Martyr's Day? We might take a week or two off for Dussera/Diwali, as would others for Christmas or Ramzan. We also have several non-holiday months in the year, just like other many countries. In fact, most countries have about 10-12 public holidays (source: wikipedia). Thus, if India has "too many" holidays - so does every other country in the world.

I sometimes wonder if the implication behind a statement such as "you have too many holidays" is "I work more than you do" - which is terribly rude or "I''m envious you have more holidays" which is a fallacy. I was shocked to chance upon an office blog that said "Indians have a problem of less productivity during Diwali" suggesting that taking the day/week/fortnight off for the most important festival for Hindus is a 'problem.' (In fact, several managers only give 2 days off to cope with heavy project requirements during Diwali.)

To people who make such statements, realise this, India does not have too many holidays, India has a diverse culture and ethnicity and we celebrate it through our holidays.

To Indians who hear such statements from others, share this blogpost with them :)


  • Anonymous | January 18, 2011 5:56 PM

    Tell such people that people from the Indian subcontinent are the only ones who work 24*7, on holidays and weekends. To top it all, they are actually proud of it. For the culturally less diverse people, with fewer holidays, the work week last only 40 hours and working on weekends is taboo.

  • popsie | January 18, 2011 6:13 PM

    To add to alphatauri14: Indians not only work over weekends we stretch during regular work days to as much as 12-16hrs a day as against a scheduled 8hr work day.

    Can't agree more, ChitsB

  • The Singlutionary | April 02, 2011 10:25 AM

    In America Jews are allowed to take off work for their holidays which are not nationally recognized. I am sure that this applies to all minority religions, more or less -- they can not lose their job for taking off for a religious reason -- but I have only seen Jewish people take advantage of it.

    I wish we had all holidays off so that nobody would have to miss out on stuff. Seems more fair.

  • Unknown | January 26, 2017 5:04 AM

    I realize this is an old, old topic, but I would like to state one thing: India has the most public holidays in the world (21).

    In the United States, those without a college education can easily be trapped working 6 days a week, with no holidays throughout the entire year. I myself, with a Bachelors of Science, get 8 holidays a year (not counting 10 vacation days).

    Given this, I believe those in the United States have reason to be envious of the time off in India.

  • See Bee | August 07, 2017 2:59 AM

    Indeed India has many public holidays but not all 21 days are granted as holidays in private companies. The international company I worked at gave 10-12 holidays a year to all their geos, and yet we heard our overseas colleagues pass snide remarks that we had too many holidays. On the contrary, we would take only 2 days off for Diwali, while our colleagues overseas would take at least a week off for Christmas or Eid.

    What I find problematic is the assumption that Indians are a lazy lot who have too many holidays when the fact our religious, linguistic and cultural diversity is celebrated through these holidays is completely missed out on.
    I would like to meet at least one American who makes an attempt to understand this instead of comparing his set of holidays to ours.

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