School holiday

School holiday

School holidays (also referred to as vacations, breaks and recess) are the periods during which schools are closed for study. The dates and periods of school holidays vary considerably throughout the world, and there is usually some variation even within the same jurisdiction.



Christmas holiday

In countries with a predominantly Judeo-Christian religious tradition, Christmas (or in the United States of America, winter break or winter recess) includes both the Christmas and New Year holidays. In the southern hemisphere Christmas is in summer and the break is longer and sometimes referred to as the summer break due to geographical reasons. They normally last for about 2-3 weeks. However the Christmas holiday in Europe, particularly the UK, is much shorter, 1-2 weeks on average. Some schools can even have christmas holidays 5-7 weeks long.

Easter holiday

In countries with a Christian religious tradition, Easter holiday (In the United States it is sometimes known as Spring Break) is a school holiday that takes place in the northern spring, with the date varying by country and level of schooling.

Summer holiday

In most countries the longest break in the school year is during summer, often lasting for 5 to 8 weeks. In America Summer holiday is normally two to three months. In Ireland, Italy and Russia summer holidays last for 3 months. Summer holidays are up to 14 weeks compared to Britain and Germany which gets around 6 weeks.

Holidays in the world


South Africa

In South Africa, school usually ends end of november and then resumes again in mid January. There is a 2 week break during April. Students take a winter break during June until July and there is a 2 week break during September.



In Brazil, Summer holidays start in early December and end in middle February. Winter holidays are generally the whole month of July. Brazilian Carnival is 40 days before Easter[1]


In Canada, summer holidays/break from school is July and August, with students returning to school in the first week of September. The winter break lasts for two weeks, which are determined by which two weeks (beginning on Monday), encompass Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The spring break, or "March Break", is one week long and normally begins with the third Monday of March.


In Chile, Summer holidays start in late December and end in late February, with students returning to school in the last week of February or the first week of March. Winter holidays are generally 2 weeks in the month of July, returning to school the first week of August.


In Mexico, school usually ends in the last weeks of June and resumes in September depending on what scheduling system a school uses, and whether it is high school or college. Christmas holiday is 3 weeks.

United States

In the United States, there are 180 school days in a year (college/universities often shorter).

Private schools tend to be 180 days a year, but sometimes more or less.

All public schools from grades K-12 have the following breaks/holidays:

  • Fall Break - about 2 to 3 days to one week in the fall, generally around Mid to late October (depending on region)
  • Thanksgiving Holiday - End of November (Thanksgiving Day & Day after - Wednesday is half day)
  • Christmas/Holiday Break - Varies, usually starts the Saturday of Christmas week and ends the first Monday after the New Year's Day.
  • Winter Break - one week in February or March (depending on region)
  • Easter/Spring Break - Lazarus Saturday to Easter Sunday (depending on region, it may last until Easter Monday)
  • Summer Break - About 10 to 12 weeks (either from end of May to end of August, or end of June to day after Labor Day in early September - depending on region and state).
  • All federal and state holidays, including religious holidays (such as Good Friday, and sometimes Jewish/Islamic holidays) - depending on school demographic.
  • Teacher's Day off (convention) - 2 to 3 days any day in school calendar.
  • Snow Days (In regions where it snows in winter) - usually given few days, but it could be make up if schools are having many snow days.

Most colleges and universities have the following breaks/holidays:

  • Thanksgiving Holiday - End of November (Thanksgiving & Day after, and most often also on Wednesday)
  • Christmas/Holiday & Winter break - December 23 to mid/end of January (Winter classes could be taken after New Year).
  • Spring Break - one week in March or April.
  • Summer Break - Early/mid of May to day after Labor day in early September (Summer classes could be taken).
  • Major federal/state holidays
  • Snow Days (In regions where it snows in winter) - usually given few days, and no days to make up.

Most colleges and universities are divided into two semesters in a school year. The first starting from day after Labor Day in early September until December 23, and the second starting middle or end of January until early/mid May. Winter and summer classes could be taken in between the breaks.


China (People's Republic Of China)

Summer holidays usually begin in mid July–early September. The Chinese new year is also a school holiday.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong summer holidays last from mid-June to the end of August. Christmas, Lunar New Year and Easter holidays last usually for one and a half weeks.


In India, summer vacations starts around Late May and ends at approximately Late July. Typically, summer vacations start with the conclusion of final exams and end with the commencement of admissions for the next year.

A separate Diwali vacation is given to students for approximately ten days during the festival of Diwali, which typically comes after the end of one school term. Therefore there are lots of holidays for many Indian special occasions like Holi.

India has almost 17 public holidays, Apart from the summer break, depends upon the regional state students have term break which is minimum one week. Usually December has half yearly term leave which is almost 20 days.


In Japan, school holidays take place from the end of March through the beginning of April, from the end of July until the end of August, and over the New Year period from December 24th to January 7th.


In the Philippines, school holidays or summer holidays starts from the 3rd week of March until the 1st to 3rd week of June. There is also a semester break from the last week of October until the 3rd of November & Christmas break from the 3rd Friday of December until the first Wednesday of January. This academic year, 2011-2012, the school started last June 6, 2011 in all public schools in the Philippines while private schools started school from June 6-17 & it is varied by private school.



In Austria, the summer holidays are mostly between early July and early September. There is no Autumn break but , Easter break (lasts for 10 days), Christmas break (from December 24 until January 6) and the mid-term break ( February) which lasts for a week and the Whitsun break which lasts for 4 days including the weekend. There are also four free days during Pentecost and various free days during religious holidays (assumption day, ascension day, Corpus Christi etc.).

Czech Republic

In Czech Republic, summer holidays begin at the end of school year on June 30 and end at the start of the school year in first week of September. Then there are autumn holidays, it is two days plus October 28 (day of creating Czechoslovakia). The winter (Christmas) holidays last usually from December 22 to January 2. There is also half term one day holiday on 31.1. The spring holidays are a week long and takes range from February to march, depending on region, sometimes they continue with Easter holidays (the green Thursday, great Friday and Easter Monday). There are also free days such as May 1 and May 8 and September 28. The school director also have right to add up to three more free days during school year. The school holidays are determined by Ministry of Schools for each school year and are valid for every basic and high school.


In Estonia, summer holidays last for three months from June to August. Christmas holidays last for two weeks, autumn and spring holidays both are one week.[2]


Main article: French school holidays


In Germany, summer holidays are mostly between July and late August with regional differences. Some regions begin as early as beginning / mid June, some end as late as start of September. They last 6 weeks. Other holidays are around Easter (2 weeks), in autumn (2 weeks) as well as mid- to end-December to the beginning of January (2 weeks). Depending on the state, further holidays can be around Pentecost or in winter between the first and the second half of the school year.


In Greece, summer holidays are between June and September. There is no standard date when holidays begin but this usually happens between June 10 and 20. However, holidays always end on September 11.


The dates for the start and the end of the school year at both primary and post-primary level are not fixed. However, due to the start of certificate exams, post-primary schools are usually not open for tuition after the Friday before the June public holiday (the first Monday in June) in any year. The school year generally starts in the week that 1 September falls every year.

In Ireland students have mid-term breaks in October and February, which last one week. There are two-week breaks during the Christmas/New Year period as well as at Easter. Summer holidays start around the last week of May or the first week of June, and end around the last week in August or the first week in September. The Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate exams start on the first Wednesday in June, and last for two and a half weeks, intruding on students' summer holidays.


In Italy, most school holidays are determined by the Ministry of Instruction, University and Research, and are valid for all public schools of every order and grade. Summer school holidays take place between half June up to the second week of September, except for those students who have to undergo final exams in the Elementary, Middle and Superior schools, as those exams can go on for as far as the second week of July. Christmas holidays take start every year on December 23 and end on the first or second working day past January 6; other holidays include one week around Easter as well as one day on December 8 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), two days for October 31 and November 1 (All Saints), the national holidays of April 25 (Liberation day) and June 2 (Republic Day), as well as the Workers' Day (May 1). Locally, school authorities have freedom upon the establishment of the lessons calendar to concede further vacation days for particularly important local recurrences (ex. for the local Patron saint day).

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, summer holidays last for six weeks for elementary schools and seven weeks for high schools. The country is divided in three regions which start their summer holidays one week after another. Summer holidays usually start in early July and ends in mid or late August. Dutch elementary and high school students also have a one week autumn holiday in mid October, two weeks of Christmas holidays, usually the last two weeks of December, as well as one week "crocus holidays" in February (for the south during Carnaval), and one or two weeks of "May holidays", which spans a period of national holidays such as Queen's Day (April 30), Remembrance of the Dead (May 4) and Liberation Day (May 5) and sometimes includes Ascension Day and Pentecost.


In Norway, school holidays vary by region. Generally, the school year starts around the third week of August. Most regions have a week off in the beginning of October (weeks 40 or 41). Christmas holidays start some days before Christmas Eve and end in the first week of January. There is one week of winter vacation in late February (weeks 8 or 9). Easter holiday is from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday or a day or two later, and Summer holidays begin some days before midsummer. [1]


All public schools have the following breaks/holidays:

  • November 1 - All Saints Day, 1 day break
  • November 11 - Independence Day, 1 day break
  • january 6 - the Ephiphany, 1 day break
  • Christmas Break - December 23 to first day of school week after New Year's
  • Winter Break - two weeks in January or February (depending on region)
  • Easter Break - usually friday before Easter Sunday to Easter Monday
  • May Break - May 1 (Labor Day), May 2 (Polish Flag Day) and May 3 (Constitution of May 3rd)
  • Corpus Christi - one day in May or June (depending on year)
  • Summer Break - usually last week of June to 1st week of September, school year starts at September 1 (or the first school week day after)


In Slovakia, summer holidays begin at the end of school year on June 30 and end at the start of the school year in first week of September. Then there are autumn holidays, end of October. The winter (Christmas) holidays last usually from December 22 to January 2. There is also half term one day holiday on 31.1. The spring holidays are a week long and takes range from February to march, depending on region. Next are Easter holidays (the green Thursday, great Friday and Easter Monday). There are also free days such as May 1 and May 8, September 1, 15, November 17. The school director also have right to add up to three more free days during school year. The school holidays are determined by Ministry of Schools for each school year and are valid for every basic and high school.


In Sweden, the curriculum year starts around mid or late August (September 1 at the universities). The week before All saint's day (a Saturday around November 1) primary and secondary school students have an autumn holiday. Christmas Holiday starts around December 18–21, depending on which day of the week December 24(the day Swedes celebrate Christmas) occurs. It usually ends in the second week of January (January 6 is also a public holiday). In the 8th–10th weeks after New year primary and secondary school students have one week of winter vacation, which week depending on location in Sweden. Easter public holidays last four days from Friday till Monday. Easter school holidays are either the week preceding Easter or the week immediately following, depending on location. Primary and secondary school summer holidays last about ten weeks starting the second week of June.

United Kingdom

School holidays vary in the countries of the United Kingdom [3]. In England & Wales summer holidays are usually 5 to 8 weeks long and start in mid to late July, ending in early September. Schools have Christmas and Easter holidays, both usually lasting about two weeks. The school year is split up into three sections (Autumn term, the time at school between Summer and Christmas; Spring term, between Christmas and Easter; Summer term, between Easter and the end of the year in Summer) and roughly halfway through each term pupils will get one week off school, known as half-term. In Scotland summer holidays are about 7 weeks long from the end of June. In Northern Ireland summer holidays usually begin near the end of June and continue until the start of September.


In Scotland, there are a number of school holidays. The academic year usually begins on the third week of August, this period up until Christmas is known as Autumn Term. In October, there are two weeks off, which is the halfway point between Summer and Christmas holidays. The Christmas holiday usually begins a few days before December 25 and ends a few days after January 5. Again, there is between 2 days and a week off half way through the term (Spring Term) and a 2 week break for Easter. After Easter is Summer term and the 3rd half term break is the half way point to the summer holidays. Summer itself usually begins towards the end of June for most pupils in years 1–7 and secondary years 1–3. Year 4, 5, and 6 leave at the end of May, after exams.



In most Australian schools there are four terms separated by breaks. The summer holiday starts in mid-December and lasts until late January for most schools. In the last year of school, however, the term ends in November; for those who go on to university, the term starts in March. There is a two-week autumn holiday in April (often incorporating the Easter public holidays), and another two weeks in July in winter. The spring break, or "September Holidays", is also two weeks, typically from late September. The main exception to the four-term structure is Tasmania, which has three academic terms, with school holidays in early June and September.

Common practices and effects

Winter holidays for most children are a time to relax, enjoy themselves, and catch up on studies; along with to spend time with family or relatives; the old purpose of the winter break, to free children to help with the harvest, is rarely relevant in modern times, but still is common in farming and rural families. Many families travel together on school holidays.

School holidays have many effects on a country, ranging from the price of travel and holiday accommodation, which increase as demand increases while children are off school, to an decreased crime rate[citation needed]. Traffic congestion and heavy passenger loads on public transport on school run routes may be worse on school days during term time. The number of families taking holidays away from urban areas can reduce traffic and use of public transport in cities while loading long-distance highways and means of transport.

In some countries, including Germany, France and Australia, where many families travel to their holiday destinations, the start and end dates of school holidays in different regions are staggered to reduce the heavy traffic and pressure on means of transport that would otherwise occur on these dates.


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