I was just reading this question and noticed all the answers were regarding students who had gone home for the holidays, but the restrictions only appear to mention "outside of school", to steal a quote from one of the answers there:

'As you know, underage wizards are not permitted to perform spells outside school, and further spellwork on your part may lead to expulsion from said school (Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, 1875, Paragraph C).' - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 22

Emphasis mine, from which nothing seems to indicate that during the holidays if they stay at Hogwarts they cannot use magic. I feel as though I'm likely missing something obvious, but feel the question should be asked anyway, if for no other reason than to have a record of it for others to look up.

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    Of course they are. We saw them performing magic during holidays in movies as well as read in the novels.
    – Not
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 13:00
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    @Not Yeah, I was trying to think about that, but I couldn't remember any examples, I suppose that falls under "I feel as though I'm likely missing something obvious", though if as mentioned in the question I linked to, the ministry just assumes any magic was the parents and it's their responsibility to enforce the restriction, would they not also assume the teachers were the ones casting, and the teachers are lax/don't feel the need to enforce the restrictions during the holidays. Is that something I should edit into my question? Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 0:22

3 Answers 3


Yes, they are.

The ban on doing magic during the holidays basically means that underage witches and wizards can't do magic outside Hogwarts. Doing magic at Hogwarts is fine at any time of the year.

The purpose of the restriction is basically twofold.

  • To prevent students from doing magic in front of Muggles and breaking the Statute of Secrecy.
  • To stop unqualified kids from doing magic that may be dangerous or beyond their abilities without the presence of a responsible teacher to look after (/punish) them.

On the first point, Hogwarts is far away from any Muggles so students can do as much magic as they want there without breaking the Statute of Secrecy. On the second, there are obviously plenty of teachers on hand even during the holidays (they seem to stay there the whole year round) so unsupervised magic isn't a problem either.

Essentially, it makes no more sense to put restrictions on kids doing magic at Hogwarts during the holidays than it does at any other time of the year. It's a magical school; the kids are kind of there to do magic so there's no point in stopping them. Any ban on doing magic during the holidays would probably be impossible to police anyway.

Additionally, it's worth noting that exams follow fast on the heels of the Easter holidays. Those holidays are widely used for revising and studying for those exams, as well as for catching up on homework. Banning magic during this period would seriously hinder the ability of students to perform at their best in important exams.

From the books we know that students do perform magic during the holidays. I've beefed up this section to try and meet the criteria that @Anthony Grist suggests in the comments - namely, a student doing magic in front of a teacher during the holidays in such a way that they would be reprimanded when caught. No such clear-cut example exists. I've combed the books for examples and, even if students weren't necessarily doing magic in front of the teachers, it's pretty clear to my mind that they were doing magic, in private at least. We have several examples.

  • Hermione whipped up a Sleeping Draught during the Christmas holidays and no action was taken against her.

    “I’ve got it all worked out,” she went on smoothly, ignoring Harry’s and Ron’s stupefied faces. She held up two plump chocolate cakes. “I’ve filled these with a simple Sleeping Draught. All you have to do is make sure Crabbe and Goyle find them."
    (Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 12, The Polyjuice Potion).

  • Ron also performs a Severing Charm during his preparations for the Yule Ball during the Christmas holidays.

    In a desperate attempt to make them look more manly, he used a Severing Charm on the ruff and cuffs. It worked fairly well; at least he was now lace-free, although he hadn’t done a very neat job...
    (Goblet of Fire, Chapter 23, The Yule Ball).

  • With thanks to Au101 we also have the example of kids doing duelling during the holidays.

    ...he, Hermione, and the Weasleys had the run of Gryffindor Tower, which meant they could play Exploding Snap loudly without bothering anyone, and practice dueling in private.
    (Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 12, The Polyjuice Potion).

  • During his first Christmas holidays Harry lights up a lamp in the library.

    The library was pitch-black and very eerie. Harry lit a lamp to see his way along the rows of books.
    (Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12, The Mirror of Erised).

    You could argue that this was done non-magically but then again we do have examples of him lighting lamps by magic from another book.

    It was dark and empty when he arrived, but he lit the lamps with his wand...
    (Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 12, The Patronus).

  • The most clear-cut example we have (or the one that comes closest to magic done in front of teachers) is Fred bewitching Percy's prefect badge.

    Percy, who hadn’t noticed that Fred had bewitched his prefect badge so that it now read “Pin-head,” kept asking them all what they were sniggering at.
    (Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 12, The Polyjuice Potion).

    Whether he did it in the Great Hall in front of the teachers or not is perhaps debatable. But since Percy takes such pride in his appearance (and in his badge above all) I think we can say that it hadn't been bewitched for very long at this point. So the bewitching charm was definitely done in the holidays. Quite possibly, it was done during lunch in the Great Hall in front of the teachers.

In short, every indication is that underage magic continues apace during the holidays. There is no attempt to stop or curtail it by the teachers. If it is forbidden then that ban is certainly not enforced.

The quote in the question also confirms that it's magic done outside school which the Ministry is concerned with.

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    I'm not convinced. Hermione had obtained a book from the Restricted section of the library by lying, stolen ingredients from a teacher, and brewed Polyjuice Potion. Not brewing a Sleeping Draught because it's the holidays seems like an odd point at which to draw the line, so the fact that she does it isn't proof that she's necessarily allowed to. Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 11:12
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    There's also more than one way to interpret "outside school", and one of them is "outside of school term times", which would apply regardless of location. Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 11:13
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    @AnthonyGrist Granted, Hermione was breaking "about 100 school rules" (as I think she puts it) anyway. So I take your point on that instance. I don't have time to look them up right now but I'm sure there are other examples of kids doing magic during the holidays. Even if no examples exist it's clear that running Hogwarts as a no-magic zone during the holidays would be logistically impossible. I can't see the Ministry taking any steps to prevent kids doing magic in a magical school. Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 11:19
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    I'm sure there are at least some other examples of kids doing magic during the holidays, too. However, I think to actually prove the point, what you need is an example of kids doing magic during the holidays in front of a teacher who is likely to reprimand them for it (and that not happening). For what it's worth, I agree with your conclusion, I just don't think you've proven it at all. (Though I'm also not sure conclusive proof necessarily exists in the books.) Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 11:24
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    I think this is a really good answer and deserves a better reception, so instead of posting a competing answer, I'll offer you another quote from the same chapter. How about "At last the term ended, and a silence deep as the snow on the grounds descended on the castle. Harry found it peaceful, rather than gloomy, and enjoyed the fact that he, Hermione and the Weasleys had the run of Gryffindor Tower, which meant they could play Exploding Snap loudly without bothering anyone, and practise duelling in private."
    – Au101
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 15:46

In The Chamber of Secrets, Harry receives a letter from the Ministry, stating that a hover charm was performed in his house and that he was expelled. Dobby was the one who performed the charm, but the Ministry thought it was Harry.

This is strong evidence that the Ministry is able to tell where magic is happening, but they are unable to source who cast it without a much more detailed investigation. As a natural result of this, the Ministry can't police underage use of magic when it happens in the home of a known wizard or in places wizards often frequent such as Diagon Alley. That is likely left to be left to any ministry official onsite or responsible adults (parents or professors).

Given this, it would also follow that the Ministry would be unable to tell who was doing casting spells in Hogwarts, so it should be okay there as well. The only ones who can say otherwise are the professors, who seem to loosen up come the holiday season.

As a side note, I'm pretty sure that term "outside school" from the law means physically, not temporally.


In Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone (Chapter Seven: The Sorting Hat), Dumbledore touches on the issue during his speech at the Welcome Feast:

'I have also been asked by Mr Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors.'

Given that Dumbledore is looking at Fred and George while saying this, I'd guess that the purpose of the rule is more to prevent disruption than to prevent magic. A strict interpretation, though, could be that students are only permitted to do magic while supervised in their classes, and that magic is forbidden in other parts of Hogwarts and outside of classroom hours.

On the Philosopher's Stone DVD main feature, Dumbledore does not mention this restriction during the Welcome Feast.

  • That's possible, I suppose. If we were to list all the examples of students doing magic outside their lessons then we'd have dozens if not hundreds of examples. I suspect that Dumbledore means, "Don't have duels with one another in between lessons". Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 8:40
  • That's some good information that hasn't been brought up elsewhere, and the fact that mr filch is the one who asked him, could also play into the theory that they legally aren't allowed to, but most of the staff are fine with it and choose not to enforce the laws. I suppose it's hard to gauge his intention from text, IIRC that line is still in the movie right? but I don't actually own the movies to go check. Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 8:48
  • Dumbledore's speech in the movie mentions a request by Filch, but concerning Fluffy's corridor: 'I have a few start-of-term notices I wish to announce. The first-years please note that the Dark Forest is strictly forbidden to all students. Also, our caretaker, Mr Filch, has asked me to remind you that the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a most painful death. Thank you.'
    – Gaultheria
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 0:18
  • Yet McGonagall allows them to practice for the Triwizard Tournament not during classes and unsupervised. Similarly, they are sometimes given homework that involves spellcasting, which would be done outside of classes and unsupervised.
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 29, 2020 at 17:33

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