For federal government employees, the advent of spring means a long slog of time during which there are no federally observed holidays until Memorial Day in May.

During this time, there are, however, several religious holidays observed by Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus that some government workers may wish to observe. The Office of Personnel Management does not recognize any of these as opportunities for holiday leave because the law has not designated them as federal observances.

The good news is that there are ways the observant can seek time off from work to celebrate.

For Christians, Easter falls on March 31 in 2024. According to the Bible, it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus and follows other holy days of Lent and Ash Wednesday in February. A week before Easter, Christians all over the world observe Good Friday.

Easter always falls on a Sunday, though the date changes each year. Other important days for Christians include Palm Sunday on March 24. None of the aforementioned are federal holidays.

Twelve states recognize Good Friday on March 29 as a state holiday: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, and Tennessee. In states where Good Friday is a holiday, state offices and courts are closed. Other businesses may close, as well. The New York Stock Exchange is also closed on Good Friday.

For Hindus, Holi, known as the festival of colors, on March 25 is a joyous and widely observed celebration of the victory of good over evil and of forgoing ill will toward others in a day of compassion and love. Like other spring holidays, it also marks the start of the harvest after winter.

In Judaism, the festival of Purim begins on the evening of March 23 celebrates ancient Jews being saved from persecution. The day is honored by dressing up in costume, retellings of the story of Purim and giving charity. Then, on April 22, the important Jewish holiday of Passover begins for a week after a special family meal called a seder is held on the first night.

For those of the Bahai’i faith, Naw Ruz is celebrated at sunset on March 19 as a welcoming of the new year.

For Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan begins on March 11 and ends around April 9. It’s a time for those who observe to practice self-discipline in keeping with one of the pillars of Islam and is most often shown through fasting.

Regulations for using personal holiday leave

For any holidays outside of the 11 federal days recognized by the U.S. government, OPM said any employee wishing to take time off for religious observances must be allowed to work alternate hours to accommodate taking that leave.

“An employee should be allowed to accumulate only the number of hours of work needed to make up for previous or anticipated absences from work for religious observances,” according to the guidance.

Religious compensatory time off may be earned within 13 pay periods before or after the period in which it is intended to be used.

White House Easter Egg Roll

The online lottery is open through March 4 for families to participate in the White House’s famous annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn.

Since the 1870s, it’s been a tradition for children to roll colorful eggs, or even themselves, down the lush lawn.

The 2024 White House Easter Egg Roll will be held on Monday, April 1.

The next observed federal holiday is Memorial Day on Monday, May 27.

Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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