What is a Holiday?

What is a public or bank holiday?

Holidays are called many names and hard to define. You may see them referred to as "public holidays", "national holidays", "statutory holidays", "federal holidays", "state holidays" and in some places, even "bank holidays". Our system uses the commonly understood definition of public holidays in the country or subdivision. We don’t seek to define public holidays, and instead rely on the open data projects around the world to reach consensus around the agreement of what day is, and isn’t, a public holiday in a country or subdivision.

A subdivision is a State, province or other legally recognised area of a country. We use the countries and subdivisions listed in ISO 3166-2: 2013. It is possible the people of a country may recognise the holidays of an area which isn’t listed in this publication. If this affects your project, please contact us.

Many types of holidays!

There are other types of holidays that your project might need to use such as:

State holidays: Days which the country or subdivision recognises as a "State Holiday". Usually on such days, government managed facilities such as national parks and buildings of interest are closed to the public. Special celebrations may also be held. Such days may also be, but are not always, days in which government employees are entitled to paid leave (see below).
Government employee holidays: Days when government employees in a country or subdivision are entitled to a period (usually a full or part working day) of paid leave. Such days are usually specified in local statutes. The statutes may address the position of part-time or remote employees which can result in a different list of paid holidays for these employees.
Judicial holidays: Days when the judiciary of the country or subdivision are not sitting. These are usually set out in local statutes. The statutes may provide different rules for different types of courts or judicial activities which may result in a different list of judicial holidays for these institutions.
School holidays: Days when government run or public schools of the country or subdivision are closed for students. Sometimes this is referred to as as a non-teaching day, student-free day or a marking day. Usually specified in local statutes, they may leave flexibility for the superintendent or head of a school to determine if a particular day is a day the school is closed for students in which case different schools in the region may recognise different school days. Non-government schools (private or independent schools) may recognise different days as school days. The days in which public school teachers are entitled to paid leave is usually a subset of school holidays.
College/university holidays: Days when the tertiary education institutions (colleges and universities) are closed for students. These days are usually specified in the charter of the college or university, and may differ from institution to institution.
Observance days: Days which are of special interest to the people of a country or subdivision, and on which they may hold special celebrations. They are difficult to define as they generally arise due to local customs or historic practices. An example of an observation day is Valentines Day which is typically not a commonly understood public holiday or State holiday, but may be observed by the local population with special events.
Religious event days: Days which the followers of a particular religion may recognise with special observances or rituals. They may be specified in the writings of the religion, or arise due to the customs of the followers.
Bank holidays: Days in which the financial institutions of a country or subdivision are not open for business as usual. These days are usually specified in local statute, however often allow flexibility of the financial institution to determine the period during which the institution is closed (if at all), and it may differ based on the location of the institution (based in a large city versus a small country town). This is often addressed by defining bank holidays with a smaller region, such as the city capital of a subdivision (eg, Sydney, Australia). Note: in the United Kingdom, what is typically referred to as public or State holidays in other parts of the world is referred to as ‘bank holidays’.
Market trading holidays: Days when the stock, share, option or bond exchange markets are not open for trading. These days are usually specified in the market rules of each individual stock exchange.
Market settlement holidays: Days when the stock exchange markets are not open for settlements. These days are usually specified in the market rules of each individual stock exchange.
Foreign exchange holidays: Days when the foreign exchange markets are not open for business as usual.

As you may appreciate from your own local experience, there is typically an overlap between each of these definitions of holiday. We hope our definition of holiday will meet most use cases as it is quite generic, however please let us know if your software project uses another definition of a "holiday".

What is a Working Day?

Weekend: Which days are a weekend depends upon the region. In many parts of the world, Saturday and Sunday are recognised as a weekend. Sometimes this may include Friday evening, or only Friday and Saturday, or just Sunday. A well drafted legal contract will specify which days are a weekend so this is not usually contentious. Holiday Oracle’s definition of a weekend for each jurisdiction has been sourced from open data and open source software projects.
Holiday: The definition of holiday used is often a public holiday, however depending upon the use case, it might be any of the holiday definitions above.

Off Chain Data's Holiday Oracle system defines a working day as: any day which is not a 'weekend' or a commonly understood public holiday.