Besides national holidays, some sectors of the Brazilian population enjoy specific days off. This article will explain in a little more detail about these specific days.
There are around 10 federal holidays per year in Brazil. Some are the same as anywhere else in the world like Christmas and Easter. Others are privileges specifically for Brazilians, some are well-known, like Carnaval.
Additionally, there are other optional holidays in Brazil, known as ponto facultativo, where private companies can freely choose if their employees will get a day off or not, whilst those working for governmental bodies are usually dismissed as in the case of Corpus Christi and Ash Wednesday.
Besides all of the dates above, there are specific holidays that apply only in Brazil. These are instituted by law and usually valid in just a few States. The list below covers some of these holidays.
Dia do Comércio
The Commerce Day, or Dia do Comércio, is a holiday that is celebrated in the state of Rio de Janeiro since 1977, usually on the third Monday of October. All services and companies operate normally except for the commerce sector which is not allowed to open unless bonuses are paid and a day off is provided to its employees.
Dia dos Professores
Dia dos Professores, or Teacher’s Day, is commonly celebrated throughout Brazil on October 15th. In most cases, students give tributes for these professionals with activities at the schools or similar institutions. This happens more often amongst younger children.
However, depending on the city where this holiday is celebrated, Dia dos Professores can be ponto facultativo as the case is in public schools. So, teachers - and consequently students - get a day off. This can also be applied to private schools, but it is up to the institution, not to the municipality government.
Dia do Servidor Público or Dia do Funcionário Público
Dia do Servidor Público is a tribute to the workers employed by governmental bodies in Brazil. This holiday is usually celebrated by the whole country on October 28th. It was initiated by former president Getúlio Vargas in 1952.
People that work for governmental entities such as registries, secretariats and the Federal Revenue have a day off. For the other sectors, this is an optional holiday. It is important to highlight that essential public services operate a normal service on this date.
Dia da Consciência Negra
“Black Awareness Day”, or Dia da Consciência Negra, is celebrated every year on November 20th. This holiday is a tribute to all the citizens in Brazil from African descent. It also remembers the social injustice suffered by this group of people during the slavery period.
Not every city or state is obliged to celebrate this date, so Dia da Consiência Negra can only be celebrated if the Municipality government allows it. If it is approved, the whole population takes a day off. The number of cities doing this grows every year, but Black Awareness Day is currently only celebrated in around 20% of Brazilian municipalities.
There are many other celebrations that allow workers to take a day off in addition to the ones above. The foundation date of each city or state is usually an optional holiday.
Despite the fact that Brazil is a secular state, each state has a patron saint. These particular days are a form of tribute to the religious icons from Catholicism, for example Saint Paul and Saint John. These figures were seen as protectors of some places, although nowadays this creed is not commonly diffused. However, the patron saint’s day of each state - and sometimes, of each state and city - is usually a holiday. For example, in Rio de Janeiro, Dia de São George or Saint George’s Day is celebrated on April 24th and all workers get a day off.
Many services are still available during state or local holidays like public transportation, police and hospitals. It is worth checking in advance which sectors will work on holidays. The following sectors are usually closed:
- Bank agencies
- Postal Service offices
- Governmental bodies like the Support Centre for Work (CAT, or Centro de Apoio ao Trabalho) and places where documents are issued (like Poupatempo)