South Africa has 12 public holidays as determined by the Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994) [PDF]. The Act determines whenever any public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following on it shall be a public holiday.

The dates on which Good Friday and Easter Sunday fall are determined according to the ecclesiastical moon. That varies each year but they fall at some point between late March and late April.

Southern African Public Holidays
South African School Holidays

The information on this page has been compiled to the best of our abilities. Please note that the publishers of this website, Blaauwberg Online cc and any of its employees, do not take any responsibility for any errors that may occur in the data below.


2022 2023
New Year's Day
Saturday 01 January
Sunday 01 January
Human Rights Day Monday 21 March Tuesday 21 March
Good Friday Friday 15 April Friday 07 April
Family Day Monday 18 April Monday 10 April
Freedom Day Wednesday 27 April Thursday 27 April
Workers Day Sunday 01 May Sunday 01 May
Public Holiday   Monday 02 May
Youth Day Thursday 16 June Friday 16 June
Women's Day Tuesday 09 August Wednesday 09 August
Heritage Day Saturday 24 September Sunday 24 September
Public Holiday   Monday 24 September
Day of Reconciliation Friday 16 December Saturday 16 December
Christmas Day Sunday 25 December Monday 25 December
Day of Goodwill Monday 26 December Tuesday 26 December

The dates on which Good Friday and Easter Sunday fall are determined according to the ecclesiastical moon. That varies each year but they fall at some point between late March and late April.

21 March [Human Rights Day]

The Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution is the cornerstone of democracy in South Africa.

The Constitution provides for the establishment of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). The aim of the Commission is to promote respect for human rights, promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights, and to monitor and assess the observance of human rights in SA. The SAHRC was launched on 21 March 1996, 35 years after the fateful events of 21 March 1960 when demonstrators in Sharpeville were gunned down by police.

The Native Laws Amendment Act of 1952 extended Government control over the movement of Africans to urban areas and abolished the use of the Pass Book (a document which Africans were required to carry on them to 'prove' that they were allowed to enter a 'white area') in favour of a reference book which had to be carried at all times by all Africans.

Failure to produce the reference book on demand by the police, was a punishable offence. The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) proposed an anti-Pass campaign to start on 21 March 1960. All African men were to take part in the campaign without their passes and present themselves for arrest.

Campaigners gathered at police stations in townships near Johannesburg where they were dispersed by police. At the Sharpeville police station a scuffle broke out. Part of a wire fence was trampled, allowing the crowd to move forward. The police opened fire, apparently without having been given a prior order to do so. Sixty-nine people were killed and 180 wounded.

In apartheid South Africa this day became known as Sharpeville Day and although not part of the official calendar of public holidays the event was commemorated among anti-apartheid movements.

27 April [Freedom Day]

Freedom Day commemorates the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994. Read more about Freedom Day celebrations.

16 June [Youth Day]

In 1975 protests started in African schools after a directive from the then Bantu Education Department that Afrikaans had to be used on an equal basis with English as a language of instruction in secondary schools. The issue, however, was not so much the Afrikaans as the whole system of Bantu education which was characterised by separate schools and universities, poor facilities, overcrowded classrooms and inadequately trained teachers. On 16 June 1976 more than 20 000 pupils from Soweto began a protest march. In the wake of clashes with the police, and the violence that ensued during the next few weeks, approximately 700 hundred people, many of them youths, were killed and property destroyed.

Youth Day, previously known as Soweto Day, commemorates these events.

More information.

9 August [National Women's Day]

This day commemorates 9 August 1956 when women participated in a national march to petition against pass laws (legislation that required African persons to carry a document on them to 'prove' that they were allowed to enter a 'white area').

More information

24 September [Heritage Day]

"The day is one of our newly created public holidays and its significance rests in recognising aspects of South African culture which are both tangible and difficult to pin down: creative expression, our historical inheritance, language, the food we eat as well as the land in which we live.

"Within a broader social and political context, the day's events…are a powerful agent for promulgating a South African identity, fostering reconciliation and promoting the notion that variety is a national asset as opposed to igniting conflict.

"Heritage has defined as "that which we inherit: the sum total of wild life and scenic parks, sites of scientific or historical importance, national monuments, historic buildings, works of art, literature and music, oral traditions and museum collections together with their documentation."

(Statement issued by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, 17 September 1996)

In an address marking Heritage Day in 1996, (former) President Mandela stated:

"When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.

We did so knowing that the struggles against the injustice and inequities of the past are part of our national identity; they are part of our culture. We knew that, if indeed our nation has to rise like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes of division and conflict, we had to acknowledge those whose selfless efforts and talents were dedicated to this goal of non-racial democracy."

Government determines a theme for each year's celebrations.

More on Heritage Day

16 December [Day of Reconciliation]

In apartheid South Africa 16 December was known as Day of the Vow, as the Voortrekkers in preparation for the battle on 16 December against the Zulus took a Vow before God that they would build a church and that they and their descendants would observe the day as a day of thanksgiving should they be granted victory. With the advent of democracy in South Africa 16 December retained its status as a public holiday, however, this time with the purpose of fostering reconciliation and national unity.

During the earlier part of the 19th century, many Afrikaner farmers left the eastern cape and moved inland. Among them was the Voortrekkers, a group of Afrikaners protesting British colonialism and seeking independent republics on what was reputedly empty land. But the land was not empty and clashes between these Afrikaners and indigenous peoples were inevitable.

Late in 1837 one of the Voortrekker leaders, Piet Retief, entered into negotiations for land with Dingane, the Zulu king. In terms of the negotiations Dingane promised the Voortrekkers land on condition they returned cattle to him stolen by Sekonyela (the Tlokwa chief). This Retief did and apparently he and Dingane signed a treaty on 6 February 1838. During the ceremony Dingane had Retief and his entourage murdered - an event which was witnessed by Francis Owen, a missionary who described the scene in his diary.

In ensuing battles between Zulus and Voortrekkers over the next few months numerous lives were lost on both sides.

On 16 December 1838 about 10 000 troops under the command of Dambuza (Nzobo) and Nhlela attacked the Voortrekkers, but the 470 Voortrekkers, with the advantage of gun powder, warded them off. Only three Voortrekkers were wounded, but more than 3 000 Zulus were killed during the battle.



2022 2023
Chinese New Year Tuesday 01 February Sunday 22 January
St. Valentine's Day Monday 14 February Tuesday 14 February
St. Patrick's Day Thursday 17 March Friday 17 March
March Equinox Sunday 20 March Monday 20 March
Mother's Day Sunday 08 May Sunday 14 May
Father's Day Sunday 19 June Sunday 18 June
June Solstice Tuesday 21 June Wednesday 21 June
National Secretary's Day Wednesday 07 September Wednesday 06 September
September Equinox Friday 23 September Saturday 23 September
National Bosses Day Sunday 16 October Monday 16 October
Halloween Monday 31 October Tuesday 31 October
Guy Fawkes Saturday 05 November Sunday 05 November
Thanksgiving Day Thursday 24 November Thursday 23 November
Black Friday Friday 25 November Friday 24 November
December Solstice Wednesday 21 December Friday 22 December


Epiphany Thursday 06 January
Baptism of the Jesus Sunday 09 January
Candlemas Wednesday 02 February
St. Valentine's Day Monday 14 February
Ash Wednesday Wednesday 02 March
St. Patrick's Day Thursday 17 March
St. Joseph's Day Saturday 19 March
Palm Sunday Sunday 10 April
Maundy (Holy) Thursday Thursday 14 April
Good Friday Friday 15 April
Easter Sunday Sunday 17 April
Easter Monday Monday 18 April
Ascension Day Thursday 26 May
Pentecost Sunday 05 June
Whit Monday Monday 06 June
Trinity Sunday Sunday 12 June
Corpus Christi Thursday 16 June
Saints Peter and Paul Wednesday 29 June
Saint Vladimir Friday 15 July
St. James the Great Day Monday 25 July
The Assumption of Mary Monday 15 August
Holy Cross Day Wednesday 14 September
Michael and All Angels Thursday 29 September
All Hallows Eve Monday 31 October
All Saints Day Tuesday 01 November
All Souls Day Wednesday 02 November
Advent Sunday (commence) Sunday 27 November
Christ the King Tuesday 29 November
St. Andrew's Day Wednesday 30 November
St. Nicholas Day Tuesday 06 December
Christmas Eve Saturday 24 December
Christmas Day Sunday 25 December
Holy Innocents Wednesday 28 December
Watch Night Saturday 31 December

Please note that all the Holy Days begin at sunset on the previous and end at nightfall
Tu-B'shvat Sunday 16 January - Monday 17 January
Fast of Esther Wednesday 16 March
Purim Wednesday 16 March - Thursday 17 March
Pesach (Day 1-8) Friday 15 April - Saturday 23 April
Yom Hazikaron Tuesday 03 May - Wednesday 04 May
Yom Ha'atzmaut Wednesday 04 May - Thursday 05 May
Lag B' Omer Wednesday 18 May - Thursday 19 May
Yom Yerushalayim Saturday 28 May - Sunday 29 May
Shavuot Saturday 04 June - Monday 06 June
Fast of Tammuz Friday 15 July - Saturday 16 July
Tish B'Av (Fast of 10th of Av) Friday 05 August - Saturday 06 August
Rosh Hashanah (1st Day) Sunday 25 September - Tuesday 27 September
Fast of Gedalya Wednesday 28 September
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Tuesday 04 October - Wednesday 05 October
Succot Sunday 09 October - Sunday 16 October
Hoshana Rabba Saturday 15 October - Sunday 16 October
Shmini Atzeret Sunday 16 October - Tuesday 18 October
Shimchat Torah Monday 17 October - Tuesday 18 October
Hanukkah (1st Day) Sunday 18 December - Monday 26 December
Fast of Tevet Doesn't occur in 2022

Islamic fasts and festivals are determined by an actual sighting of the appropriate new moon.
Laylatul Meeraj (eve) Tuesday 01 March
Lailat al Bara'ah Friday 18 March - Saturday 19 March
Ramadaan Saturday 02 April - Monday 02 May
Lailat al Oadr Friday 29 April
Eid-Ul-Fitr Monday 02 May - Tuesday 03 May
Waqf al Arafa - Hajj Friday 08 July - Saturday 09 July
Eid-Ul-Adgha Saturday 09 July - Wednesday 13 July
Hijra - Islamic New Year Friday 29 July
Day of Ashura / Muharram Sunday 07 August - Monday 08 August
Milad un Nabi Friday 07 October - Saturday 08October
Makarsankranti / Pongal Friday 14 January
Thaipusam Tuesday 18 January
Vasant Panchami Saturday 05 February
Maha Shivaratri Tuesday 01 March
Holika Dahan Thursday 17 March
Holi Friday 18 March
Hindi New Year Friday 01 April
Ugadi / Gudi Padwa / Telugu New Year Saturday 02 April
Ramanavami Sunday 10 April
Hanuman Jayanti Saturday 16 April
Vaisakhi / Baisakhi / Vishu Thursday 14 April
Tamil New Year Thursday 14 April
Bengali New Year / Bihu Friday 15 April
Akshaya Tritiya Tuesday 03 May
Savitri Pooja Monday 30 May
Puri Rath Yatra Thursday 30 June
Guru Purnima Wednesday 13 July
Nag Panchami Tuesday 02 August
Raksha Bandhan Thursday 11 August
Varalakshmi Vrat Friday 12 August
Krishna Janmashtami Thursday 18 August - Friday 19 August
Onam Tuesday 30 August - Thursday 08 September
Ganesh Chaturthi Wednesday 31 August
Vishwakarma Puja Saturday 17 September
Mahalaya Amavasya Sunday 25 September
Navaratri begins Monday 26 September
Navaratri ends / Maha Navami Wednesday 05 October
Dusshera Wednesday 05 October
Sharad Purnima Sunday 09 October
Karwa Chauth Wednesday 12 October - Thursday 13 October
Dhan Teras Sunday 23 October
Diwali Monday 24 October
Bhai Dooj Wednesday 26 October
Chhath Puja Sunday 30 October
Kartik Poornima Tuesday 08 November
Geeta Jayanti Saturday 03 December
Dhanu Sankranti Friday 16 December