Day Off: Public Holidays in Brazil
- Thursday January 6th, 2022
- Posted by: Amanda Ennes
- Category: Brazil
Some foreigners perceive Brazil as a country with too many holidays. However, that is not entirely true. There are eight national holidays in Brazil. That is fewer days off than counties such as Japan, Italy, the USA, Spain, and Germany.
Public holidays are recognized by law in Brazil and a paid day off is guaranteed for all legal employees. However, if employers need their employees to work during holidays, they need to pay double the salary for their working hours or give them another day off within a week.
So, what are the public holidays in Brazil?
National holidays in Brazil
January 1st: New Year’s Day
In Brazil, the New Year’s Day holiday is called Universal Fraternization. The festivities include a countdown to midnight, fireworks, and parties all over the country. You can read more about New Year’s Eve in Brazil on this blog post.
January 21st: Tiradentes Day
This day marks the anniversary of the death of Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, also called Tiradentes. He was the leader of an important revolutionary movement in Brazil during the 18th century, seeking full independence from Portugal. Authorities arrested, tried, and publicly hanged Tiradentes. Since then, he became a national martyr, remembered for the way he fought for the country.
May 1st: Labor Day
Celebrates Brazilian workers and the labor movement. Many cities host free live concerts for the population.
September 7th: Independence Day
Celebrates Brazil’s declaration of independence from Portugal on September 7, 1822. There are military and civic parades all around the country, with marching bands and avid participation of students from public and private schools.
October 12th: Our Lady of Aparecida’s Day
Our Lady of Aparecida is the patron saint of Brazil. History says that fishermen from São Paulo were struggling to catch fish someday in 1717. After praying for a miracle, parts of a saint’s image appeared on their nets. First the body and then the head. After that, fish began to appear in abundance across the river and the fishermen returned home with lots of fish.
Different masses and celebrations are held around Brazil. The city of Aparecida do Norte, especially, where Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida is located, hosts several masses and receives over 160,000 people every holiday.
November 2nd: All Souls’ Day
It is a Christian day to remember and pay homage to the loved ones that have already passed away. Brazilians tend to visit cemeteries to bring flowers to the graves during this holiday.
November 15th: Proclamation of Republic
Celebrates the end of the Empire of Brazil and the proclamation of the Brazilian Republic on November 15, 1889.
December 25th: Christmas
Read this blog post and learn more about Christmas traditions and celebrations in Brazil.
Other public holidays
Besides the eight national holidays mentioned above, there are three other holidays that are observed in most cities in Brazil, but not ruled as national holidays.
- Carnival: celebrated the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
- Good Friday: the Friday preceding Easter Sunday.
- Corpus Christi: 60 days after Easter Sunday.
In addition to the holidays mentioned above, each state or city may also enact its own holidays, such as the city’s anniversary, a patron saint’s day, or other celebrations. In Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, for example, we celebrate Black Awareness Day on November 20th as a public holiday.
For instance, the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador have a total of 14 public holidays each year. São Paulo observes 11 public holidays, while Porto Alegre has 13 holidays a year.