Holidays are an important aspect of our everyday life, as they give people time to relax and re-energize for the tasks ahead. So we’ll be looking at Public Holidays in South Africa 2023. National holidays are always of national interest and every citizen is expected to observe them.
South African National public holiday is not limited to a particular group of persons. It applies to all including schools, government agencies and private organizations. It’s actually a good thing to have knowledge of these days ahead of time so that you can plan your schedule and activities accordingly.
Public Holidays in South Africa 2023
In 2020, South Africa will have a total of 13 national public holidays. We’ll take a brief look at each of them and what they connote.
1. New Year’s Day – January 1
This is the first public holiday in the Gregorian Calendar for 2023. The New Day of the year is generally marked out as a public holiday. It is regarded as a universal public holiday. New Year festivities in South Africa are usually marked with fireworks and festivities. However, there is no official state function on January 1 to commemorate this occasion.
2. Human Rights Day – 21 March
Human Rights Day is a national holiday in South Africa that is always celebrated on March 21st. The holiday commemorates the establishment of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
3. Good Friday – April 15
Just like many other Christian dominated countries, Good Friday also features as a public Holiday in the Official Public Holidays 2023. Good Friday forms part of the Easter holiday and is generally the commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The 2023 Easter Friday will fall on April 15. There is no official state function on this day.
4. Family Day – April 18
Easter Monday is also called Family Day in South Africa. It is another universal public holiday specific to pre-dominant Christian states. Like Good Friday, Easter Monday does not incorporate any state function though it is considered a public holiday. Easter Monday usually comes after Easter Sunday and is a commemoration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.
5. Freedom Day – April 27
Freedom Day is a South African public holiday that is celebrated on April 27th each year. If April 27th falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as a holiday.
The day celebrates freedom and commemorates the first democratic post-apartheid non-racial elections that were held on April 27th 1994, which saw Nelson Mandela elected as President.
6. Workers’ Day – May 1
1st of May is set aside worldwide to celebrate working citizens. This day is declared a public holiday in South Africa as well. It is set aside to celebrate the role played by Trade Unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against Apartheid. The day is also known as Labor Day in many countries around the world.
7. Youth Day – June 16
The Youth Day celebration is a national holiday celebrated in South Africa on June 16th. If Youth Day falls on a Sunday, a public holiday will be observed on the following Monday. Previously known as Soweto Day, Youth Day marks the start of the Soweto riots of 1976.
8. National Women’s Day – August 9
National Women’s Day is an annual public holiday in South Africa on the 9th August. If National Women’s day falls on a Sunday, a public holiday will be observed on the following Monday 10th. The holiday commemorates the national march of women on this day in 1956 to petition against legislation that required African persons to carry the ‘pass’.
10. Heritage Day – September 24
Heritage Day is a public holiday in South Africa that is always celebrated on September 24th. If Heritage Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is observed as a public holiday.
Known as Erfenisdag in Afrikaans, the intention of Heritage Day is for all South Africans to celebrate their heritage, the diversity of their beliefs and traditions and remember their struggles against Apartheid.
11. Day of Reconciliation – December 16
The Day of Reconciliation is a public holiday in South Africa, held annually on 16th December. If 16th December falls on a Sunday, a public holiday will be observed on the following Monday.
The intention is to celebrate the end of apartheid and foster reconciliation between different racial groups. The holiday came into effect in 1994 after the end of Apartheid.
12. Christmas Day – December 25
December 25 is a universal public holiday, set aside to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. On this day, Ghanaians commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is usually a day of joy and merriment and is marked by so many activities around the country. While some people usually stay at home and welcome visitors, friends, and loved ones, others take a trip to event centers, amusement parks, entertainment functions, and a whole lot of other places.
13. Day of Goodwill – December 26
This public holiday is celebrated on 26th December in several countries as part of the Christmas holidays. Typically it will be moved and celebrated on the next weekday if the 26th of December is a Saturday or Sunday. If Christmas Day falls on a weekend, Boxing Day may be observed on Tuesday 27th December.
In South Africa, December 26th is a public holiday known as the Day of Goodwill. Before 1980, the day was celebrated as Boxing Day.