Celebrating the Sabbath on Sunday

Regarding Cecil’s column on Christian’s celebrating the Sabbath on Sunday, I note that a letter of St. Augustine survives which touches on the question of which is the “right” day for fasting/celebration. He takes it to St. Ambrose, and his answeris the germ of a common English expression:

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” :slight_smile:

Just a point I was wondering about in Cecil’s reply (and also something that was mentioned in the original question): I know that Sunday is supposed to be the first day of the week, so how come it has migrated to being the last of the week? The 2nd day of the week-end? Maybe this shows I was brought up in a secular environment, but I always associated Sunday being the 7th day of the 7 days of creation, the one where God rests (and I assumed, we had to rest as well). Am I wrong in this?

You’re right. Sunday has been tugged to fall after Saturday simply because it puts the two week-end days together. (For what it’s worth, it’s been normal in Europe for quite some time, but I also encountered it in the USA as far back as the mid-1950s.)

Sunday is the last day of the week? When did that happen?

I see that Microsoft Outlook has it that way, but most normal calendars – like my wonderful Demotivators calendar still shows Sunday as the first day of the week.
If you asked a hundred people to name the first day of the week, I’m betting you’d get a hundred people saying, “Sunday.”

Well, you’d probably get a hundred people asking, “What kind of dumb question is that?,” but if you explained they would probably answer.


It depends on the country, RR. Most people in the U.S. count Sunday first, as can be seen by a simple perusal of calendars available for purchase. Most European countries go Monday-first, which makes more sense in the context of a “weekend” but has not yet been widely adopted in the U.S.
Powers &8^]