For how long has the 7 day weekly cycle been unbroken?

How long ago did the current ongoing 7 day weekly cycle begin? In other words, given that I am writing this on a Friday, how many 7 day steps can I go back in time and still find they are calling the day Friday?

Never mind that the names of the days may gradually evolve. I am asking how many turns this 7 tooth gear has made since the last time it jumped a tooth or got reset.

There was a vague reference in the Wikipedia article about 7 day weeks to 6th century BC Hebrew people, but their use of “continuity” wasn’t clearly what I meant, at least not as I read it.

I would think that 6th century B.C.E. would be about right.

The week would have been set to establish religious services on the seventh day. It seems unlikely that anything would have disrupted that practice. Reckoning years can change at the whims of rulers, but daily life tends to go on, regardless. At about that time, the Babylonian Captivity created two separate communities, one in the region of Judea and one in Mesopotamia. Had the “weeks” suffered a break in tradition, it would seem that one group or the other would have encountered the other group celebrating the “wrong” Sabbath and noted that. Within a couple of hundred years, the Alexandrine conquests resulted in the establishment of other Jewish communities in Egypt. At that point, there would have been three communities reconciling any discrepancies in their weekly calendar.

When Christianity broke off from Judaism, it took the same basic calendar with it, spread across all of Europe, (modifying the Roman calendar that had no weeks along the way), and further provided checks and balances against one or more “days” being lost. (To say nothing of the fact that Jews and Christians would have noticed that they had gotten out of sync.)

It’s only been 68 years since the Lost Weekend.

The cycle was broken in France during the Revolutionary period. The revolutionary government established a 10 day week that was in force for about 12 years.

Of course, that didn’t affect anyone outside France, and I don’t think there was 100% take-up for the new calendar even in France.

Are you talking a global standard? The idea of a seven day week traces back to Judaism and it was adopted and popularized by Christians. It replaced the Roman week, which had eight days.

The Soviets also experimented with a new week after their revolution. They tried going with a five day week. It didn’t catch on and was discontinued after a couple of years.

Did the change from Julian calendar to Gregorian cause any change in weekday cycle?

Britain changed on September 2, 1752. The British Calendar act of 1752 ruled that the day after Wednesday the 2nd would be Thursday the fourteenth. This would not have changed.

But in 1582, Pope Gregory ordered the advancement of the calendar by 10 days. I assume this would have cause a discontinuity in the weekdays.

Nope. According to wikipedia entry for gregorian calander system, in Rome,
the last day of the Julian calendar was Thursday, 4 October 1582, and the first day of the Gregorian calendar, Friday, 15 October 1582 .
Of course the change across the world occurred in stages, as countries decided to switch, or having Catholic system forced on them, with British Empire waiting till 1752, and Russia for a while.

There was that time when it got stuck, and Monday kept repeating. I don’t know if they ever made up for that.

Also, the error in the Julian calendar isn’t causing an error in the weekdays, so why vary the week day cycle ?

pro: already existing predictions of the day of week of future days would be preserved as accurate for a while … In 1582, they would be accurate until 1700, when February 29 is skipped for the first time (using the Gregorian calendar…since 1600 is divisible by 400, Feb 29 occurred in 1600 as it does in the Julian calendar.)

Also remember they didn’t have any thing expensive to change, there was no year 2000 bug to be considered ? besides there was plenty of warning issued.
So the pro is very little value.
con: It makes it hard to calculate the day of week given a start date and going across the change over from Julian to Gregorian, forward or backward.

And because the Gregorian change deliberately didn’t disturb the weekday cycle, those other various conversions didn’t need to either. They simply omitted dates at some point to synch up. I don’t think even the mess the Swedish made of the conversion interrupted the weekday cycle - Sweden decided they would gradually change to the Gregorian calendar by omitting leap years for a 40 year interval until their calendar agreed. They didn’t stick to it, and wound up having a February of 30 days to synch back to the Julian calendar, eventually converting by removing a block of days like everybody else. Of course, with so many authorities all changing in different ways, maybe somebody DID see fit to play with the weekday cycle around the conversion, I just can’t think of a reason why they would.

(Britain changed the year start at the same time as the Gregorian conversion in 1752, which calendar conversion programs may get wrong. Starting the year in January instead of March was a separate issue, and the fact that the British did both at once tends to confuse the two in some people’s minds.)

As an offshoot to this what about Saturday? My impression was that a six day work week was normal until fairly recently. For how long have the majority of the population not been working on Saturday?

What is the lost weekend? I’ve been whooshed, since this is the Wiki and I don’t see it(or I’m blind).

It’s a 68 year-old movie, I’m guessing.

Honestly. Kids today.

The Lost Weekend; 1945; Ray Milland, Jane Wyman; directed by Billy Wilder.

Or the 1944 Charles R. Jackson novel on which the film was based.

In 1954, when I was working in a lab at Penn, you had to work a half day on Saturdays. I bet you didn’t have to go back many years before that, that you had Saturday classes. And a friend who graduated from Princeton in 1953 told me they had Saturday classes. When I came to McGill in 1968, someone told me how Orthodox Jewish managed Saturday classes. Listening to lectures wasn’t forbidden (apparently they were willing to miss services), but how to get there. Actually, it wasn’t that far from the ghetto, maybe 2 or 2 1/2 miles, but what they did was have bus tickets torn off already and went to a bus stop that had other people waiting, so the bus shouldn’t have to stop expressly for them, then get off at a stop other people were getting off at. Well, it kept them off the street.

Although 5 1/2 day weeks were fairly standard in the 50s, I expect that a few decades earlier, they were 6 days standard.

The major problem was that instead of everyone having the same day (Sunday) off everyone (including members of the same family) had different days off. Also it led to maintenance issues in factories that were now operating nonstop. The USSR ended up observing the Sabbath pretty rigidly, which is ironic given it’s hostility to religion.

I had Saturday (morning) classes in college into the early 1970s.

5 1/2 vs 6 day work weeks probably varied by industry and trade. You can encounter novels written in the early twentieth century that mention people working from 6 or 7 a.m. to noon and others mentioning working a normal shift on Saturday. (My memory is that schools went to 5 1/2 day weeks pretty early, although I could not give a date.)

(For that matter, when I worked in tool shops to pay for college, I worked five 10-hour days and a final 8-hour day. However, that might have been due to the high volume of business we were doing. Everything over 40 hours was time-and-a-half, of course.)

Minor nitpick - Sabbath was never moved!

The “Sabbath” properly refers to the “seventh” day of the week (Saturday). It is the Jewish day of rest, and still observed by most Jewish branches.

Christianity changed the day of worship to the “first” day of the week (Sunday), because the Jewish religious requirement to rest on the sabbath no longer applied to them.

Any day can be the seventh day if you can count to seven, which is exactly what the Talmud says you should do if lost in the desert, or otherwise unaware what day it is in your community’s calendar. The point is the ritual observance; the actual day it takes place on is completely immaterial.