The Need to reduce the Excessive National Holidays if we are to move forward as a Nation
Posted on June 23rd, 2018

Sudath Gunasaekara


It is a well-known fact that we are a nation of lotus eaters, the main factor, why we lag behind other nations. This trend was set in motion by the colonial powers to keep us as eternal beggars. At least now let us rise from this deep slumber in to which colonial invaders have put us and our politicians have never dared to address for the past 70 years.

Today we have the highest number of public holidays in the world. Politicians decide on them to suit their political agendas. 2018 has 26 public holidays in this country and when you add the week ends we have about 130 holidays per year. We have no national policy in deciding the Public Holidays. Fortunately we have only 365 days for a year. If we had more our politician would have definitely increased our public holidays as well to get some more votes.

The average number of public holidays in the world is 12. USA 10 UK 8 Japan 15 Russia 15 India 17 and Singapore 14 while we have 26 even for this year, as if we are above all these countries in development. The world index on public holidays is a good pointer as to why we should drastically reduce the number of holidays, if we ever dream of development

National holidays in any country, unlike Sri Lanka, are decided by their national policies. Unfortunately we have none. To do that you must have national leaders at the political helm. Most our politicians don’t know even we had a nation. That was at least 2600 years old. That is why they accepted this country as a multinational country in 1948 by accepting the name UNP for the first democratic political party to be set up and even now parroting ‘all nations in this country’ day and night without being able to understand that the colonials have planted the idea that there are many nations in this country where as we had only one nation when we handed over the country in 1815 to them.

A country’s public holidays should reflect its culture and historical values. This country having been a Sinhala Buddhist country at least for 2600 years should reflect that history and tradition. It is a big tragedy that no national leader of standing, either lay or religious has brought up this issue up to date at any forum.

In this backdrop to preserve and portray our heritage to the world and take this country to make it once again the miracle of at least Asia, I suggest the following scheme of public holidays for this country be adopted as soon as possible

 Name                                           Month            Number of days

1 Sinhala New Year                     April 13 &14           2

2 Vesak                                          May Vesak poya    2

3 Janaraja Dinya                           May  22                  1

4  Jatika Govi Kamkaru Dinaya  May    1                  1

5 Poson day                                 July                          1

Date to be decided by the Government

6    Jatika Veera dinaya                                              1

7   Parisara Dinaya                                                      1

8 Jatika Lama  Dinaya                                                1

9 Jatika Mav varunge dinaya                                   1

10 Jatika Wedihiti Dinaya                                        1

Total                                                                          12

*Other religious days such as Catholic, Hindu, and Muslim should be declared holidays only for the followers    of those religions.

* All four Poya days of the month should be declared as week-ends holidays for government offices and schools. We need to adjust office days and School days to suit his system. So you don’t need to have the present system of five days a week which is the imposition of the Gregorian calendar, a colonial relict on us by force from 1815.  We owe an obligation by the 70 % Buddhist populous in this country at least now to restore their heritage, though it is already too late.

This will give 12 public holidays and 49 week-ends, a total of 60 for public officers and we will be left with a minimum of 305 working days for a year, which will give you 101 working days a year for all men and women on the basis that all of them sleep 8 hours a day.  So you can imagine what a difference would be there in production in 10 years with 3050 more days a year at our disposal.  This will also help us to make this country Asia’s miracle in 10 years as I have proposed in my Siya Panatha, proposed to be   given to all political parties in due course as a people’s manifesto to be accepted and implemented by them.

We need to assert our independence at least now, which all our politicians have tragically failed  for 70 long years , shame to them, as we are no longer a colony of the British Empire to follow that system blindly since we  are supposed to have got political independence in 1948.

I hope and wish that this new holiday system will serve as a major lever for us to realize our dream of making this country the miracle of Asia, in 10 years, under a new patriotic Government.

3 Responses to “The Need to reduce the Excessive National Holidays if we are to move forward as a Nation”

  1. aloy Says:

    It is ridiculous to go back to Poya-Pre-poya system put into force by Dudley S. We still have its legacy by shutting down the country on all poya days. This proposal if accepted will make another mess.
    I suggest to make all poya days working days except Vesak(two days) and Poson. This will cancel out only about 8 poya days (when calculated statistically) thereby reducing our national holidays to 18 which is very near to that of Singapore. Leave all other holidays as they are now.

  2. Christie Says:

    Why the hell we need May 1 a holiday?

  3. Nimal Says:

    I think we should work on all poya days except on our glorious Wesak poya day.Must get rid of all other absurd public holidays.

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