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3 public holidays in India against 15 in Pakistan
A recent research shows that the neighboring India observes only three public holidays every year, as compared to at least 15 such off-days in Pakistan.
The three full national public holidays in India are observed on January 26 (Republic Day), August 15 (Independence Day) and October 2 (Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday).
Although 73 regional holidays are observed in various Indian states and union territories to respect various faiths, cultures and religions living there, they are not recognized as full public holidays.
After India, Switzerland has the least number of public holidays in the world. This Alpine nation observes just four such national holidays every year, and same is going to be the case this year.
Sri Lanka is bound to have 26 public holidays during 2011 - the highest in any country. Sri Lanka is followed by Iran (25), China (22), Argentine (21), Austria (20), Bangladesh (20), Egypt (20), Indonesia (20), Kazakhstan (20), Thailand (20), Brunei (17), Bulgaria (17), Singapore (16), Japan (16), Belgium (16), Morocco (16), Singapore (16), Morocco (16), Afghanistan (15), Brazil (15), Finland (15), Russia (15), Pakistan (15), South Korea (15), Kuwait (15), Malaysia (14), South Africa (14), Libya (14), Sweden (13), Italy (13), New Zealand (13), Poland (13), Denmark (13), Turkey (13), Czech Republic (12), Holland (12), Hungary (12) and Norway (12).
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia normally has 11 public holidays, though government offices usually remain closed here for a few more days every year due to the Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha holidays.
Saudi Arabia is followed by France (11), Spain (10 with various regional holidays), Cuba (10), UAE (10), Germany (10), Ireland (9) and Israel (9).
England normally has eight public days but due to the Royal wedding of April 2011, it will have nine public holidays this year.
England is followed by the United States of America (8), Australia (9) and Canada (7).
In Israel, the working week begins on Sunday to accommodate the Jewish Sabbath (which begins every Friday night), whereas in Nepal, Sunday marks the start of the Vedic week.
The legal working week in most parts of the Western world is Mondays to Fridays, because in Christian tradition, Sunday is the “Lord’s Day” and the day of rest and worship.
Saturdays and Sundays are complementary parts of the week devoted to labour and rest for most employees.
However, most Muslim countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey etc also follow the Saturday-Sunday holiday format. Pakistan has now been added to the list of countries with the Saturdays and Sundays being observed as weekly off-days.
In August 2009, Algeria had aligned itself with other states in the region that has a Friday-Saturday weekend, after having observed a Thursday-Friday weekend since 1976. It is imperative to note that countries like China had begun having a two-day weekend in 1995. The weekly holidays in Brunei Darussalam are Fridays and Sundays.
Muslim countries with a Thursday-Friday weekend include the likes of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen. However, a few Muslim countries like Afghanistan, Iran have Friday as the only weekend day and have a six-day working week.
In Afghanistan, Thursday is half a day of work and government offices close around 11:30 am local time. In Iran, while Thursday serves as a weekend and for some, it is half a day of work for others.