Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Math of Long Weekends

In Singapore, there are 11 official public holidays every year. There are going to be 6 long weekends in 2016! Enjoy!

Now, of course I love public holidays and long weekends as much as the next person. However, what I find strange is how people react every year once the news of the next year's long weekends are out.

Suddenly, everybody becomes a wanderlust traveller and start sharing articles about all these places that they want to visit (but never do) so that they can tame their wild roving heart with exciting adventures. Really? You are going to backpack South America over that long weekend? Oh please, tell me more.

But lame people saying that they do things and not doing them aside, let's run through the math of long weekends. What does this have to do with finance? Absolutely nothing. I just wanted to do some practical math in real life.

Of the 11 recurring public holidays, Good Friday always happens on... Friday. Ba-dum tssss. That's 1 guaranteed long weekend right there.

So there are 10 public holidays left.

If a public holiday falls on a Friday or Monday, we get a normal long weekend.
If a public holiday falls on Sunday, Monday becomes a holiday instead, so another long weekend.

So if a public holiday falls on these 3 out of any of the normal 7 days of the week, we get a long weekend.

3 out of 7 is 43%.

If we have 10 remaining public holidays, we should roughly expect 4.3 long weekends from them.
Add in the 1 guaranteed long weekend from Good Friday and you get an expected number of 5.3 long weekends a year.

Of course, you can't get 0.3 long weekends, you need a binary outcome. So, let's look at the number of long weekends we had since the start of the where I can find data from.

2007: 3
2008: 5
2009: 7
2010: 7
2011: 5
2012: 5
2013: 4
2014: 4
2015: 7
2016: 6

10 year average: 5.3

Well now, that's pretty damn accurate, isn't it?

So why is everyone so surprised that we have around these number of long weekends every year?

Beats me man, I don't know.


  1. Nice analysis.

    They just want to get excited over it, that's all ;)

    1. Okay la, give chance, day in day out in sunny Singapore can really get quite boring sometimes :)

  2. Need to plan ahead of peers for leave. :-)

    1. Eh Uncle, good reason!

      I rather wait and see first when my bosses take leave, then I stay, HAHA!


Observe the house rules.