It’s a fight that’s destroyed countless couples over the years.
It’s a debate that’s bedeviled millions.
It’s an argument that’s led to calendar burnings and missed appointments.
Sunday – is it the first or last day of the week?
My recent argument with my wife – I insisted it’s the last day.
1) I’m taking the religious side of things. God rested on the seventh day, which became the Sabbath. And I’m Catholic. So my Sabbath is Sunday, not Saturday. So there. Sorry to my Jewish friends. I win.
2) It’s called the week-end. Not the week-end-start.
But I’ve learned that if I’m going to stand a chance at winning an argument with my wife (I think it happened twice), I need to present facts. So here’s a summary of my research.
The Egyptians really got the whole “Sunday is the first day” thing started by starting the calendar with Sundaymeaning “day of the sun.” They passed it onto the Romans, who started with “dies solis.” Translated into early German, the first day was known as “sunnon-dagaz.” Flash forward to Middle English … that’s “sone day.”
The whole Christian thing gets confusing. Because this sort of throws a wrench in my argument. In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, God said, “Let there be light, and there was light”… so some call that Sunday.
I’m more a fan of the Slavics. I like their style. Sunday is the last day of the week in their languages and not named in honor of the sun. In Old Russian, for example, it was sometimes known as “free day.”
But in fairness, the Slavics drink a lot. So maybe we can’t rely on that.
Now let’s talk about Monday. In Latin, it’s known as “dies lunae,” or “day of the moon.” That morphed into Old English as Monday. They say that way back in early pagan traditions, it’s a day that was actually dedicated to the goddess of the moon.
I don’t actually know how that plays into anything. But it’s fun to talk about witches, so whatever.
As it turns out, the first mention of the term “weekend” was back in the late 1800s. But it wasn’t until 1908 in a New England mill where American culture went to a 5-day workweek instead of a 6-day workweek. It’s said that the shift was made to accommodate the Jewish workforce and their observance of the Jewish Sabbath, and is actually credited with reducing unemployment by freeing up factories to hire more workers during the Great Depression.
Would that mean Saturday was the original end of the workweek?
Ehhhh. I’m too stubborn to give my wife the win on this. So I’m going to give capitalism the win. Perhaps SundayDOES start the week.
Maybe I was wrong after all. Or maybe not. Maybe the Slavics are onto something … vodka and all.