Public holidays in the Botswana are largely controlled by government sector employers who are given paid time off. The government holiday schedule mainly benefits employees of government and government regulated businesses. At the discretion of the employer, other non-federal holidays such as Christmas Eve are common additions to the list of paid holidays.

Major Christian holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday are officially observed, leave is permitted for other religious holidays as well. For example, some school children and employees take days off for Muslim holidays, Hindu holidays, or Eastern Orthodox observances according to the Julian calendar. While not normally taken off work, Valentine's Day, Halloween, Mother's Day, and Father's Day are traditionally observed by Batswana.

Public holidays

A public holiday (also known as "stats" or "general" or "statutory" holiday) in Botswana is legislated through the parliament of Botswana.[1] Most workers, public and private, are entitled to take the day off with regular pay. However, some employers may require employees to work on such a holiday, but the employee must either receive a day off in lieu of the holiday or must be paid at a premium rate – usually 1½ (known as "time and a half") or twice (known as "double time") the regular pay for their time worked that day, in addition to the holiday pay.[2]

Nationwide public holidays in Botswana

Good Friday in Botswana 2015:April 10 2016: April 29 2017: April 17
Date Name Remarks
January 1 New Year's Day Celebrates the first day of every year in the Eastern calendar.
April Good Friday Commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.[a]
April or May[b] Easter Monday Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.[c]


May 1 Labour Day Celebrate the achievements of workers.[4][5]
May or June[d] Ascension Commemorates the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven.[6][7]
July 1 Sir Seretse Khama Day Celebrate birth of the first president.[8]
July (Tuesday 3rd Monday) Presidents' Day A one-day holiday held on the third Monday of July.[9]
September 30 Independence Day (Botswana) The date celebrates Botswanal's Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on September 30, 1966.[10]
October 1 Botswana Day Holiday Celebrates economic and social achievements of workers.
December 25 Christmas Day Celebrates the Nativity of Jesus.
December 26 Boxing Day Celebrated on the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would traditionally receive gifts known as a "Christmas box" from their masters, employers or customers.[11]

Holidays with religious and cultural significance

The religious and cultural holidays in Botswana are characterized by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices.

Christian holidays

Some private businesses and certain other institutions are closed on Good Friday. The financial market and stock market is closed on Good Friday. Most retail stores remain open although some might close early. Public schools and most universities are closed on Good Friday, either as a holiday of its own, or part of spring break. The postal service operates, and banks regulated by the federal government do not close for Good Friday.

Many companies, including banks, malls, shopping centers and most private retail stores that normally open on Sundays are closed on Easter.

Box of Valentine chocolates, typically sold around Valentine's Day
Date Name Remarks
February 14 Valentine's Day St. Valentine's Day, or simply Valentine's Day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. Modern traditional celebration of love and romance, including the exchange of cards, candy, flowers, and other gifts.
February or March, date varies Ash Wednesday Closes with Ash Wednesday (40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays), which starts the penitential season of Lent in the Western Christian calendar.
Sunday before Easter Palm Sunday Celebration to commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
The Friday before (Eastern) Easter Good Friday Friday of Holy Week, when Western Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Federal banks and post offices that are located in buildings that close for Good Friday and Easter will also be closed. Many public and private schools, colleges, universities and private-sector businesses; and the Botswana Stock Exchange and financial markets are closed on Good Friday.
Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, date varies from March 22 to April 25, inclusive (see Computus), Easter Celebration of the resurrection of Jesus in most Western Christian churches. Many Batswana decorate hard-boiled eggs and give baskets of candy, fruit, toys and so on, especially to children; but gifts of age-appropriate Easter baskets for the elderly, the infirm and the needy are increasingly popular. Not a federal holiday due to the fact that it always falls on a Sunday, which is a non-working day for federal and state employees. Many companies that are normally open on Sunday close for Easter.
October 31 Halloween Originally the end of the Celtic year, it now celebrates Eve of All Saint's Day. Decorations include jack o'lanterns. Costume parties and candy such as candy corn are also part of the holiday. Kids go "trick-or-treating" to neighbors who give away candy.
December 24 Christmas Eve Day before Christmas. Virtually every business closes early, though a few remain open 24 hours.
December 25 Christmas Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a Federal Holiday.

See also


  1. ^ Non-federally regulated employers must give either Good Friday or Easter Monday as a statutory holiday, though some give both days.
  2. ^ Date varies because of Western and Eastern Christianity.
  3. ^ Non-federally regulated employers must give either Good Friday or Easter Monday as a statutory holiday, though some give both days.
  4. ^ Date varies because of Western and Eastern Christianity.


  1. ^ "Botswana Public Holiday Act" (PDF). 
  2. ^ "BSE - Public Holidays and None Trading days". www.bse.co.bw. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  3. ^ Vicki K. Black (1 July 2004). The Church Standard, Volume 74. Church Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9780819225757. Retrieved 7 April 2012. In parts of Europe, the eggs were dyed red and were then cracked together when people exchanged Easter greetings. Many congregations today continue to have Easter egg hunts for the children after the services on Easter Day. 
  4. ^ Marsh, James H. "Origins of Labour Day". Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  5. ^ "History of Labour Day". National Labour Day 2008. Jamaica Information Service. Archived from the original on 10 September 2009. 
  6. ^ "Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated each year on the fortieth day after the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha (Easter). Since the date of Pascha changes each year, the date of the Feast of the Ascension changes. The Feast is always celebrated on a Thursday. 
  7. ^ "Rules to Order the Christian Year". Church of England. 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. Rogation Days are the three days before Ascension Day, when prayer is offered for God's blessing on the fruits of the earth and on human labour. The nine days after Ascension Day until Pentecost are days of prayer and preparation to celebrate the outpouring of the Spirit. 
  8. ^ "Mmegi Online :: A glimpse of Seretse Khama's legacy". Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  9. ^ "Botswana Presidents Day". aglobalworld.com. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  10. ^ "Botswana profile - Timeline". BBC News. 2016-08-05. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  11. ^ (pseud.), Peter Parley (1838-01-01). Tales About Christmas. Thomas Tegg and Son. 

External links