Is Sunday the first day of the week or the last? | The Tylt
Is Sunday the first day of the week or the last?
The days of the week and our perception of them have roots in astrology, mythology and religion, resulting in a fair amount of confusion as to which day actually kicks-off the ensuing six days. TimeAndDate.com describes a few of the calendar discrepancies across the world:
According to international standard ISO 8601, Monday is the first day of the week. It is followed by Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sunday is the 7th and final day.
Although this is the international standard, several countries, including the United States, Canada, and Australia consider Sunday as the start of the week.
As the first day of the week varies in different cultures, so does the weekend. The Christian or Western world marks Sunday as their day of rest and worship, while Muslims refer to Friday as their day of rest and prayer. The Jewish calendar counts Saturday–the Sabbath–as the day of rest and worship.
Many have heard this line from the Book of Genesis' story of creation, even if just in passing. According to Jewish tradition, that seventh day is Saturday. This is the day of the week set aside for rest and worship, making Sunday the start of the new week. According to one blogger:
Sunday was traditionally regarded as the first day of the week by both Christians and Jews. Following Jewish tradition, the Bible is quite explicit that God rested on the seventh day of Creation, which formed the basis for the Sabbath, the day of rest.
Even when Constantine made Sunday the Christian day of rest, thus giving it the traditional functions of the Jewish Sabbath, there was no question that Sunday remained the first day of the week.
Sunday has long been treated as the first day of the week across the world. According to Gizmodo:
The first day of the week (for most), Sunday has been set aside as the 'day of the sun' since ancient Egyptian times in honor of the sun-god, beginning with Ra. The Egyptians passed their idea of a 7-day week onto the Romans, who also started their week with the Sun's day, dies solis. When translated into early German, the first day was called sunnon-dagaz, which made its way into Middle English as sone(n)day.
Many people feel that because Saturday and Sunday comprise the weekend, Sunday is the last day of the week and Monday is the first. Plus, the workweek begins on Monday, and the anticipation (anxiety, dread, whatever you feel) of going back to work often overshadows the religious significance and history reflected in calendars.
The Monday-first calendar is also more in-tune with our subjective experiences. Sunday doesn't feel like the first day of the week, it feels like the last day of the weekend. For most people, Saturday and Sunday are days for rest/housework, whereas Monday is a day for school or business. Sunday morning feels feels like a less-relaxed Saturday morning, whereas Monday morning feels dramatically different than Sunday. Since there's a sharp change in how we feel on Monday morning, it makes sense to start the week then.
The truth is, the first and last days of the week vary from country to country based on culture and religion. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the last day of the week is Thursday. As one person points out for The Telegraph:
When I worked in Saudi Arabia, we were endlessly telling British-based businesses that it was a waste of time trying to visit on a Thursday because it was the start of our weekend.
However, they kept doing it and had to kick their heels until Saturday morning, when we were back at our desks.
You should be able to determine which day feels better for you to "start" your week. For many, Monday is the correct choice.