SINGAPORE - The year 2017 brings with it a bumper crop of seven long weekends.
Of the 11 gazetted public holidays released on Tuesday (April 5), seven fall on a Friday, Sunday or Monday.
Here's a quick guide to public holidays in 2017, and how to maximise those long weekends:
1. THE 11 DAYS TO LOOK FORWARD TO
First off, the dates to mark in your calendar are:
2. READY, GET SET, "CHOPE" LEAVE
There are seven long weekends, but it's possible to make it 10.
If you're looking a short break in the region, one of the following three-day weekends will do.
January: New Year's Day (Jan 1) and the second day of Chinese New Year (Jan 29) both fall on Sundays, making the following Mondays public holidays.
April: There's good ol' Good Friday (April 14).
May: Labour Day (May 1) falls on Monday.
June: Hari Raya Puasa (June 25) falls on a Sunday, thus Monday (June 26) is a holiday.
September: Hari Raya Haji (Sept 1) is on a Friday
December: Christmas (Dec 25) is on Monday.
But for a longer trip, you can create five-day "weekends" by taking two days of leave in May, August, or October.
May: Vesak Day (May 10) is a Wednesday. Take leave on Monday and Tuesday (May 8 and 9) or Thursday and Friday (May 11 and 12) to make it a five-day break.
August: National Day (Aug 9) falls on a Wednesday. You can take Aug 7 and 8, or Aug 10 and 11 off to make it a five-day break.
October: Deepavali (Oct 18) falls on a Wednesday. Take Oct 16 and 17, or Oct 19 and 20 off for a five-day break.
3. JUST BEAR WITH IT
February, March, July and November are the "dry" months with no public holidays.
4. NO CHANGE FOR DEEPAVALI FROM 2016
It will be easier to plan your leave from now on.
From 2016, the Deepavali date was not subject to change, according to the Ministry of Manpower.
In the past, the date for Deepavali was estimated in March or April of the previous year, and confirmed against the Hindu Almanac when it was available in the early part of the year.
It falls on Oct 18 in 2017.
5. A BUMPER CROP?
Next year's seven long weekends are above average, but still can't beat the Jubilee year's exceptional windfall of an additional public holiday and two four-day weekends.
Chinese New Year fell on Thursday and Friday, which made it another four-day weekend.
In 2016, there were six long weekends, with three still to come.
There were four long weekends in 2014 and 2013, and five in 2012 and 2011.
In 2010 and 2009, there were also seven long weekends.
In 2009, there could have been eight long weekends, but the date for Deepavali was later changed from Nov 15, Sunday, to Oct 17, Saturday.
6. MAYBE NOT...
Perhaps Singapore workers treasure their long weekends because on the whole, the number of public holidays here fall short when compared to other countries.
Travel search website Wego reported last year that India has the most number of public holidays at around 21. Some states have even more.
The Philippines has 18, China and Hong Kong 17, Thailand 16 and Malaysia and Vietnam have 15.
Taiwan and South Korea have 12 and Australia and New Zealand have 10.
But some countries have even fewer public holidays, like Germany with nine and Spain and Canada, which have only eight.