Celebration and Observation: Introducing the 2023 International Public Holiday Guide

red pin on the 31st of a calendar

Public holidays serve multiple purposes, from offering rest time with family and friends to promoting religious observances, political obligations (e.g. voting), historical commemoration, cultural unity and more.

However, when it comes to managing a global workforce, it can be a time-consuming and complex undertaking to stay on top of statutory holidays – which vary around the world

GoGlobal has developed a 2023 Public Holiday Guide, aimed at helping HR departments better understand the holiday schedules of their international workforces.

In this guide, we take a look at the holiday schedules of more than 60 countries around the world and offer insights that can help multinational companies (MNCs) with workforce planning and business continuity.

Take a closer look at the countries in which you have workers or the places you may expand to in the future, to understand what current or future employees are entitled to. These holiday schedules are also included in GoGlobal’s HR at a Glance country guides.

It’s interesting to look at various holidays and we’ve put together a list of some fun facts and insights:

  • The Lunar New Year will be observed in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. The holiday begins January 22, 2023 and the statutory non-working days vary from country to country. 
  • The observation of public holidays within one country can vary by state, territory or province. For example, the first Monday of August is a public holiday in many areas of Canada, where schools and businesses have a day off. In other parts, however, it is a normal working day. The holiday is referred to by several names, including Civic Holiday, August Holiday and Provincial Day.
  • Labor Day, in most countries, is synonymous with International Workers’ Day, which occurs on May 1. However, there are notable exceptions, such as in the US where Labor Day is observed on the first Monday of September.
  • Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26 (the day after Christmas) in the UK as well as in several countries that were previously part of the British Empire. In some other countries, this public holiday may be called the Second Day of Christmas.
  • In addition to Christmas, many countries will observe the Epiphany (also known as Three Kings’ Day) on January 6, 2023.
  • Some countries with large populations of Eastern Orthodox Christians, such as Egypt, may also observe Christmas on January 7, 2023 (in accordance with the Julian calendar). 
  • A Thanksgiving holiday will be celebrated in different ways on different days in a few countries around the world, such as in Croatia (August 5, 2023), Canada (October 9, 2023), Japan (November 23, 2023) and the US (November 23, 2023). 
  • Mother’s Day will be celebrated as a public holiday in Lithuania (May 7, 2023) and Costa Rica (August 15, 2023). Father’s Day will also be observed in Lithuania on June 4, 2023 and in Thailand on December 5, 2023, where the holiday is paired with H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great’s Birthday. 
  • In many countries, when the official date of a holiday falls on the weekend, the non-working day is observed on a replacement date.

How well do you know your workers’ holiday schedules? Check out our 2023 International Public Holiday Guide or contact us to talk with an international HR expert.