January Global Holidays & Festivities

Knowing when exactly are the global public holidays is a brilliant way to plan your vacations beforehand.

The list of public holidays mentioned here is a perfect guide you need to plan your vacations in January. 

Here is the list of global holidays in January

New Year’s DayJanuary – 1st
World Braille DayJanuary – 4th
EpiphanyJanuary – 6th
Makar Sankranti/PongalJanuary – 14/15th
Australia DayJanuary – 26th
Chinese New YearJanuary – February
January Global Holidays & Festivities
January Global Holidays

January starts with excitement and celebrations from the night before in a lot of countries. This joy is carried forward by many other days like national holidays and regional holidays.

Let’s start with the most favorite! 

New Year’s Day – January 1st

New Year’s day is one of the oldest holidays. People worldwide celebrate New Year’s Day on the first day of the new year. The global holiday tradition includes making resolutions and calling friends & family to wish them a prosperous new year.

New Year’s Day is a public holiday in countries that follow the Gregorian calendar.

New Year - January First Global Holiday

What Is New Year’s Day?

New years day is the first day of the new year as per the Gregorian calendar. People believe that what happens on the first day of the new year foretells how the coming year is going to be.

Family & friends gathering and feasting on this day is a significant activity. which is followed traditionally.

What is New Year’s Day’s history?

New Year’s day is a human creation. It has no relation to nature. This new years day concept arose from the ancient Roman custom, the feast of the Roman god – Janus. The name of the month, January, is named after him. Since Janus is depicted as two-faced, one opposite to the other. One face resembles the past and the other to the future.

Romans have promised Janus to celebrate the New Year. By leaving the past year and looking forward to a prosperous new year. That is why the first day of the month of January is celebrated as new year’s day. And the tradition of new years resolution originated from this ancient custom.

How Is New Year’s Day Celebrated?

With fireworks, champagne, kisses, handshakes, and resolutions, new years day is celebrated from the time the clock hits 12 at night.

There are a few traditions followed in celebrating new years eve. Some are interesting, some are funny but each tradition is filled with hope and joy. From singing carols, greeting at midnight to eating grapes, throwing plates, hanging onions, jumping chairs, visiting temples, and carrying empty suitcases. Each country celebrates the new year in positive spirits to have a joyous coming 12 months.

World Braille Day – January 4th

World Braille day was formed in 2019 by UNSA and is celebrated on January 4th. Which is the birth anniversary of Louis Braille. World Braille day is celebrated to honor the braille inventor Louis Braille and to represent competency, independence, and equality.

As Louis Braille said, “Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge, and that is vitally important for us if we are not to go on being despised or patronized by condescending sighted people. We do not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded that we are vulnerable. We must be treated as equals and communication is the way we can bring this about.”

Braille day is meant to acknowledge that people with visual impairment are also to be treated equally. They deserve to have the same rights as every human. And we all stand by them and support them. However, World Braille Day is not a public holiday.

Happy World Braille Day - January - 4th

What Is A Braille Day?

Braille day is dedicated to the people who use braille language every day for communication.

Braille is crucial for the context of education, freedom of speech, and being socially involved. Braille is a language used by partially or fully visually impaired people. It’s a language system used to represent the alphabet and numerical by using six dots.

There are braille codes in 133 languages. Helping people as per the recent edition of braille code usage.

How Is World Braille Day Celebrated?

The United Nations General Assembly has chosen January 4th to celebrate World Braille day in November 2018. This day has been commemorated since 2019 and is declared a global holiday.

Increasing awareness about the day and making more people learn this language will help a lot of blind people to read and understand braille. A tradition to give something in braille will help spread the importance to celebrate this day. Using social media to promote awareness amongst all netizens will allow for huge responses and attention.

Epiphany – January 6th

Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th every year. Epiphany means an appearance or insight.  This day is celebrated as the revelation of Jesus Christ as the form of god. Epiphany also holds the traditional end of Christmas and is the last day of the Christmas holiday season. On this day, Irish and Amish Christians also celebrate the commemoration of three wise men who followed an angel to Bethlehem. The place where Jesus was born.

The eastern churches that follow the Julian calendar celebrate Epiphany on January 19th. As there is a 13 days difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

Epiphany is a public holiday on January 6th in most countries except Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA(except the Virgin Islands)

Epiphany is celebrated in Russia on 19th january and is considered a public holiday.

What Is Epiphany?

Epiphany is the Christian feast day celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also called a double epiphany because the day is said to be the birth of Jesus Christ and baptism.

In the western church, the feast of epiphany is celebrated as the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the magi and to all non-Jews. In the eastern church, Epiphany commemorates the baptism of Jesus and the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The first Monday after Epiphany is called the Plough Monday. It is the traditional start to the english agriculture year.

How Is Epiphany Celebrated?

Epiphany is one of the oldest Christian holidays. People celebrate it in various ways around the world. By baking three kings’ cakes, having one’s house blessed, church activities, and giving and receiving gifts. On this day people exchange a lot of presents than on Christmas. Children receive gifts hidden in their shoes, a tradition to honor the magi’s gifts to infant Jesus.

A special cake called Rosca de Reyes is made on epiphany. It is also the last day to traditionally take down the Christmas tree and the decorations.

But if someone forgot to remove the Christmas decorations on epiphany. Should traditionally leave them untouched until Candlemas.

Epiphany Day - January - 6th Holiday

Why Did Epiphany Start?

Epiphany is celebrated on the 12th day of Christmas. Because it is said that the three wise men took 12 days to reach Bethlehem and recognize Jesus as a god. For this reason, epiphany is also called the twelfth day.

Epiphany is also known as the old Christmas. Marking the 12th day of Christmas and the last day of the Christmas holiday season.

Makar Sankranti/ Pongal – January 14th

Makar Sankranti is a four days festival for Hindus which is celebrated all over India. On this day, people worship the sun god. It’s celebrated on the first day of January as per the solar calendar. When the sun transitions to capricorn (makar) Rashi. Sankranti translates to transfer.

The festival is also called Pongal in Tamil. People celebrate both Makar Sankranti and Pongal to thank the sun god. Pongal means overflowing, which denotes the boiling rice that is prepared in a pot for this festival.

Makar Sankranti/ Pongal is not a public holiday. However, employees have an option to take leave. 

Makar Sankranti/Pongal is a restricted holiday in India. 

What Is Makar Sankranti/ Pongal?

Makar Sankranti/Pongal is an important spiritual practice for Hindus. People take holy dips in the rivers and believe to get forgiveness for their sins. Special sweets are made with sesame seeds and jaggery. This day marks the end of winter days and the entering of the long summer days.

Every twelve years, Makar Sankranti/ Pongal is celebrated along with kumbh Mela. It is the world’s largest pilgrimage with millions gathering at prayagraj on the banks of the river Ganga and the Yamuna to pray to the sun god.

Makar sankranti/pongal festival is celebrated across the country by different names but at the same time of the year.

Who Celebrates Makar Sankranti/ Pongal?

Makar Sankranti or Pongal is mostly celebrated by farmers to show gratitude to the sun god for the harvest. In most parts of India, this is the time for rabi crops and the hard work in the fields is over. And now people take time to spend quality time with their families and enjoy flying kites.

But recently, the kite festival got famous and is a tradition followed in Gujarat (a state in India). This kite festival is an undoubtedly fantastic experience. People celebrate the festival on January 14th and 15th. However, the preparations to buy and sell these kites at markets start almost a month prior.

Happy Pongal Makar Sankranti - January Global Holiday

How To Celebrate Makar Sankranti/ Pongal?

Makar Sankranti or Pongal is celebrated by flying kites, bonfires, feasts, and making a special Pongal dish. Visiting homes and connecting with families, socializing in communities.

Make a sweet Pongal by boiling rice in milk, jaggery, and green gram. Top with cashew, raisins and ghee. This sweet symbolizes being together with the family in peace and joy. This Pongal dish is offered to the sun god to thank for the prosperity of the harvest.

Australia Day – January 26th

Australia day occurs every year on January 26th and is the official national day of Australia. Historically also named Australian foundation day or anniversary day.

Australian day is celebrated as an official public holiday day in Australia.

What is Australia Day?

The day was meant for Australian citizens to reflect on what it means to be Australian. Acknowledging the history and all the things that people love about their nation. The day is celebrated to commemorate the arrival of the first fleet of 11 ships at Sydney cove from Britain in 1788, bringing in 1500 people. The first European settlers to Australia.

Australia Day - January 26th is a Holiday

Who Celebrates Australia Day?

The important part of Australia day is recognizing Australia’s native people and culture. The celebration on this day is to reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation.

This official holiday is a special day for concerts, citizenship ceremonies, national flag rising, barbeque night, and fireworks by the natives. People also spend time on sporting events like horse races and boat races. The day usually ends with fireworks.

The contemporary Australians celebrate it with Australian of the year awards. The Australian of the year award is presented to the citizen. Who significantly contributed to the nation and is an inspirational role model to the Australian community.

Why Is Australia Day Controversial?

Recent times have raised an alarming demand to change the date of Australian day from January 26th to May 9th. The celebration of the foundation of Australia day has become controversial, calling it invasion day or survival day. The day is marked to be the beginning of the dispossession of their continent’s natives.

The controversy grew attention amongst people. They do want to value and have a special day to celebrate their homeland. But why on the day that led to the traumatic context in particular.

Chinese New Year – Movable Dates In Jan And Feb

Chinese new year is a festival celebrated on the first day of the new year as per the lunisolar Chinese calendar. It was a festival to pray to harvest gods, remember the ancestors and honor them and have a family feast as a celebration.

Nowadays, it’s a 2-week festival celebrated widely even in western countries.

Starting from Chinese new year’s eve to the lantern festival on the last day. On the first full moon day of the lunar calendar, lanterns are floated, decorated in streets, and are let loose to fly.

Lanterns symbolize letting go of the past year and welcoming the new year with good fortune.

The first three days of the Chinese New Year are public holidays in Mainland China, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam & Suriname.

Chinese Lunar new year - January Global Holiday

What Is Chinese New Year?

Chinese new year is also known as a lunar new year or spring new year. It is the most important festival in China. This 15 days festival marks the start of spring. An indication for the cool winter days to be over. Chinese new year dates change every year and are determined by the lunar calendar.

Do’s and don’ts on Chinese New Year?

Chinese people believe that what happens on new year’s day affects the whole year. A few superstitious things are traditionally followed during the Chinese new year. People do not sweep the house on new year’s day. It’s believed to sweep your luck off too. People don’t wash clothes and hair on Chinese new years day as this will send their fortune away. And don’t eat porridge for breakfast. This will make you poor.

Around this spring festival, for the first 15 days of the new year. No crying, no hospital visits, no black/white clothes, no money lending. Don’t break anything, no killings, don’t take the garbage out, no needlework or scissors work.

Certain foods are eaten on this day for purely symbolic meaning, like dumplings to represent wealth. Fish for surplus prosperity, Tangyan for a family reunion, harmony, and happiness.

In the new year, people eat things that are round in shape, sweet in taste that symbolizes completeness, wholeness, and sweet, happy life.

How Is Chinese New Year Celebrated?

Chinese new year is celebrated by watching lions and dragons dance on the streets. It’s a treat to your eyes. Colorful, vibrant, and rich decorations and clothes are worn by the people performing. Lots of Fireworks, firecrackers, new year decorations, and new year eve dinners are involved.

Chinese new year is celebrated by decorating houses with red things, and red lanterns are hung on the streets. The color red in the lunar calendar represents prosperity and energy. People show offerings for their ancestors, family union, feast, and exchange red envelopes and gifts. People who receive red envelopes with money are meant to have a  safe and peaceful year.

Suppose you are a travel enthusiast who prefers to experience the beauty of celebrations across each country. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this global public holidays list. Celebrate every event across the globe like a native, and understand different customs. It sounds super fun!

Whether you want to be a part of the public holiday or avoid it altogether, this is a perfect read for you.