What are the main public holidays in Uganda?

What are the main public holidays in Uganda?

A public holiday is an opportunity to relax, meet friends and take a break from it all. There are a number of public holidays in Uganda that visitors should be aware of – not least because many government and school buildings may be closed, but also because it provides an opportunity to join in with the celebrations!


New Year’s Day in Uganda (January 1)

Marking the beginning of a new year, celebrations begin on New Year’s Eve and continue to the next day (which is also a public holiday.) Expect fireworks, music and entertainment across Kampala, as well as large church services and religious gatherings.

Archbishop Janani Luwum Day (February 16)

A new public holiday to be held on February 16 each year, it marks the life of the second African Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire. Archbishop Janani Luwum was a leading critic of Idi Amin and was killed in 1977.

Easter celebrations in Uganda

Easter is widely observed and, because Good Friday and Easter Monday are also public holidays, many Ugandans make the most of the four-day weekend by travelling to see their families. If you happen to be visiting Uganda, another popular activity is going to Lake Victoria where you can enjoy a picnic and take in the beautiful scenery.

Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha, or the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’ is observed worldwide each year and in 2020 falls on Friday, July 31. It is a public holiday in Uganda, just as is Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan. Also known as ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’, in 2020 Muslims in Uganda will join in the global celebrations on May 24.

Martyrs’ Day

Observed on June 3 each year, Ugandans celebrate Martyrs’ Day in honour of St Charles Lwanga and his companions. A trip to the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine in Namugongo is highly recommended for those visitors interested in the religious history of our country.


Visiting church on Christmas Eve begins the celebrations which culminate with a public holiday on Christmas Day. Ugandans may take the opportunity to travel to see family and friends, enjoy a feast and taking part in carol singing or nativity plays.

Summary of Uganda’s public holidays

Jan 01 Jan 26 Feb 16 Mar 08 Apr 10 – 13 May 20 June 03 Jun 09 Jul 31 Oct 09 Dec 25
New year’s day NRM Liberation day Archbishop Janani Luwum day International Women’s day Easter weekend Eid al-Fitr Martyrs day Heroes day Eid al-Adha


Independence day Christmas


This is a small selection of some of the highlights in the Uganda national calendar. To see the full list of public holidays, follow the link here.

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