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  #1  
Old 10-19-2004, 12:46 PM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
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Why do calendars start on Sunday?

Todays burning question is brought to you after years of wondering this.

If God made the world in 6 days, the 7th day was for rest. This day, I presume is Sunday. A biblical skolur I am not.

Why do we start the week on Sunday? However, German ( and possibly other European Calendars) start their calendars on a Monday.

Maybe some furren dopers can chime in with their calendar information.

Why the difference? Can't we all just get along?

Why Sunday?

Why not Monday?

Why, why why why?

Thank you for reading this measure and reasoned question.
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2004, 12:56 PM
FatBaldGuy FatBaldGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest
T
If God made the world in 6 days, the 7th day was for rest. This day, I presume is Sunday. A biblical skolur I am not.
The Jews anciently (and still today) celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday, as the commemoration of the 7th day of rest from the creation. Actually, the Sabbath goes from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday.

Since Jesus was crucified on Friday and rose on Sunday, the early Christians began meeting together on Sunday, the first day of the week, which they called "The Lord's Day," both as a commemoration, and also to distinguish themselves from the Jews.
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  #3  
Old 10-19-2004, 01:54 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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According to the Most Rev. James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, God created the world during one calendar week in October, 4004 B.C. The seventh day, He rested and declared it the Sabbath. Jews continue to keep the Sabbath on that day, as do Seventh-Day Adventists and Seventh-Day Baptists.

The rest of Christianity goes to church on Sunday because it's the weekly celebration of the Resurrection -- sort of a weekly mini-Easter -- which makes it the Lord's Day.

Our Spanish-speaking cohorts make this clear in their names for the days: Saturday is Sabado; Sunday, Domingo -- "Sabbath" and "Lord's" respectively.
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  #4  
Old 10-19-2004, 02:28 PM
GaryM GaryM is online now
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I've bought calendars in the past that start the week on Monday. Not recently though. Very confusing until you get used to it.

BTW, in Microsoft Outlook you can set the calendar to start on any day of the week you desire. Tuesday through Monday, no problem.
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  #5  
Old 10-19-2004, 03:37 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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From what I remember from junior-high French classes, the French routinely count the week as starting on Monday. The calendars go lundi, mardi, mercredi, ... , diemanche, not diemanche, lundi, mardi, ... samdie.
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  #6  
Old 10-19-2004, 03:44 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
From what I remember from junior-high French classes, the French routinely count the week as starting on Monday. .

You're right. Actually, I figured out that the week didn't begin on monday in the US only a couple day ago. I used to assume that sunday was the last day of the week everywhere.
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  #7  
Old 10-19-2004, 03:51 PM
Noone Special Noone Special is offline
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In the book of Genesis, the creation is narrated on a day-by-day basis, each day ending with "And it was evening, and it was morning, [first, second, third...] day" (appologies - this is my own lousy translation from the original Hebrew). The Sabbath (seventh day) follows "Sixth day".

Anyway, day names in Hebrew still reflect this pattern - Sunday is "First Day", Monday is "Second Day", etc... through "Sixth Day" (which is Friday), followed by "Shabbath" (which means "He Rested" in Hebrew - or "Day of Rest").

So Sunday is the biblical "First Day", which is why most calendars would start on it.

Dani

(P.S. - the "And it was Evening, and it was Morning" text is the reason the Jewish Sabbath, and indeed all the other days as well, are considered to start at sundown the day before rather than a midnight. This is why religious Jews will not use electricity or drive etc... after dusk Friday evening, while the will use all these on Saturday night - which is effectively already Sunday)
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  #8  
Old 10-19-2004, 04:12 PM
Charlie Tan Charlie Tan is offline
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I think the US (and maybe the rest of the Americas) are the exception to the rule. All European countries I know of consider Monday the first day of the week. When we had a six day work week, it ended on a Saturday and Sunday was for rest and church. To me, it makes sense that the first workday of the week is also the first day of the week.
Getting the people of the US to change their calenders seems futile, considering the metric crawl. And not really that important either. Now, If Americans started working on sunday, having weekend Fri through Sat, that'd be a problem.
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  #9  
Old 10-19-2004, 04:38 PM
Noone Special Noone Special is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gaspode
Now, If Americans started working on sunday, having weekend Fri through Sat, that'd be a problem.
This actually is the Situation in Israel... so our week very definitely starts on Sunday. Plus the etymology I gave above, that suggests that Sunday is the Christian Day of Rest, but also the First Day

Dani
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  #10  
Old 10-19-2004, 06:55 PM
antechinus antechinus is offline
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Never mind biblical history - Saturday and Sunday are called the weekend because they are at the end of the week. The week is based on a quarter of the lunar cycle and the term 'weekend' is only a recent addition to our language. The weekend used to be just Sunday.

I just had a look through a bunch of diaries and calanders in my office - they all had the weekend at the end where you would expect it. I can remember seeing a calander that started with Saturday, but that is an exception to the rule.

Seems like it is a US thing. With a country so large, the inertia is difficult to overcome in order to modernise some aspects of society.

From Online Etymology:

Quote:
week
O.E. wice, from P.Gmc. *wikon, probably originally with the sense of "turn" or "succession." The seven-day week is ancient, probably originating from the 28-day lunar cycle, divisible into four periods of seven day, at the end of each of which the moon enters a new phase. As a Roman astrological convention it was borrowed by other European peoples; the Gmc. tribes substituting their own deities for those of the Romans, without regard to planets. Weekday is O.E. wicdæge "day of the week" (in M.E., any day other than Sunday); weekend was a northern word which became general after 1878.
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  #11  
Old 10-19-2004, 07:13 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clairobscur
You're right. Actually, I figured out that the week didn't begin on monday in the US only a couple day ago. I used to assume that sunday was the last day of the week everywhere.
Just about every US calenadar I have seen has the first day of the week as Sunday, and the last is Saturday. The idea of the last day of the week being Sunday would be very alien to most Americans.
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  #12  
Old 10-19-2004, 08:09 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Incidentally, in those countries where Monday is considered the first day of the week, how is this reconciled with the Biblical notion of Sunday being the first? Do bibles in France say "On the seventh day, God created the Heavens and the Earth... And on the sixth day He rested", and so forth?
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  #13  
Old 10-19-2004, 08:45 PM
El Zagna El Zagna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryM
I've bought calendars in the past that start the week on Monday. Not recently though. Very confusing until you get used to it.
I never got used to it. Even by December I was still screwing my days up. Never again.
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  #14  
Old 10-19-2004, 09:34 PM
Atticus Finch Atticus Finch is offline
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I've heard that moving the Sabbath to Sunday occurred in Rome in the early centuries AD as a response to Mithraism. Apparently Mithraism was a sun-worshipping cult that was very popular at the time, and its sabbath day was Sunday. The early Christians apparently co-opted this day.

Anyone know the Straight Dope on this? I know, for example, that Constantine declared Sunday to be the Sabbath day, and there are suggestions that Constantine had some sort of connection sun-god of Mithraism, Sol Invictus. Creating a powerful syncretic form of Christianity by co-opting Mithraistic elements seems a likely move for a Roman reformer of the times.
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  #15  
Old 10-20-2004, 03:38 AM
Charlie Tan Charlie Tan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antechinus
Never mind biblical history - Saturday and Sunday are called the weekend because they are at the end of the week.
Another argument in favor of Sunday being the last day of the week - thus weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
Incidentally, in those countries where Monday is considered the first day of the week, how is this reconciled with the Biblical notion of Sunday being the first? Do bibles in France say "On the seventh day, God created the Heavens and the Earth... And on the sixth day He rested", and so forth?
Never having opened a French bible, I can still say that this is just plain silly.

We don't reconcile it. It's a non-issue.
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  #16  
Old 10-20-2004, 04:15 AM
Snooooopy Snooooopy is offline
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I just think it looks nice and balanced to have one "S" -- Sunday -- on the far left and the other "S" -- Saturday -- on the far right.
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  #17  
Old 10-20-2004, 05:47 AM
Room Finder Room Finder is offline
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Unless I start working and going to class on Sunday and stop doing it on Friday, Sunday's always going to be the last day of the week.
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  #18  
Old 10-20-2004, 08:23 AM
Popup Popup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gaspode
Getting the people of the US to change their calenders seems futile, considering the metric crawl. And not really that important either. Now, If Americans started working on sunday, having weekend Fri through Sat, that'd be a problem.
Actually, just like with the metric system, the US have agreed in theory, but in practice keep their old system.
The relevant international standard ISO8601:2000(PDF) defines (in section 5.2.3) that
Quote:
day of the week is represented by one decimal digit. Monday shall be indentified as day [1] of any calendar week, and subsequent days of the same week shall be numbered in ascending sequience to Sunday (day[7]).
(bolding in original)

But, as you say, it will probably take some time until this gets through everywhere.
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  #19  
Old 10-20-2004, 08:36 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
From what I remember from junior-high French classes, the French routinely count the week as starting on Monday. The calendars go lundi, mardi, mercredi, ... , diemanche, not diemanche, lundi, mardi, ... samdie.
The calender I use at home came from the Zodiac (inflatable boats, French company) catalog. The weeks start on Mondays.
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