India: Appointment Alert! – Part 2


More information on making appointments

Dinner appointments for business purposes are rare. Official dinners are mostly hosted as large gatherings, and are mainly meant for socializing and getting to know each other.

The work-week differs across organisations and sectors: Government offices work Monday-Saturday, with the second Saturday of the month as an additional holiday; most business organisations follow a five-and-a-half day work week; and, most IT and software companies have a five-day work-week, with Saturday and Sunday off.

The business and official work in India are done using the western ‘Christian’ calendar. The convention for writing dates is dd/mm/yy, e.g., December 25th, 2004 will be written as 25/12/04.

In most Indian business organisations, banks and government departments, the Financial Year is calculated from April to March. Since the end of March is the time for closing the financial year, people are very busy. Try to avoid scheduling an appointment around this period. The MNCs, however, mostly follow a January-to-December financial year.

Most Indians take vacations during the summers [April-June] and Mid-December to Mid-January. In addition, in Northern and Eastern India, a favourite time for taking vacations is around October, which coincides with Dussehra/ Pooja holidays [see below].

India has a long list of holidays. Some of these–e.g., Independence Day [January 26th], Independence Day [August 15th], Gandhi Jayanti [October 2nd], and Christmas [December 25th]–are observed according to the western calendar. The others, which are Hindu, Sikh or Muslim festivals–e.g., Pongal/ Makar Sankranti, Holi, Idu’l Zuha, Dussehra, Deepawali, Muharram, Guru Nanak Birthday, etc.–follow the lunar calendar. The dates for the latter holidays are not the same in terms of the western calendar, and therefore, it is advisable to contact the local Indian Embassy/ Consulate to find out the holiday list for that particular year.

Since India is a culturally diverse country, different parts of the country also celebrate festivals which are regional in nature. Thus, each state also has its own list of holidays. You can get this list from the Tourism Departments of the particular states.

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