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All this discussion, and I'm over here simply being mock-annoyed that Sunday is being listed as the first day of the week.

I know it's a personal choice, but why do some people think the week starts on a Sunday? I'm curious as to what the explanation is?

The U.S. convention to start the week on a Sunday dates to Christian conventions which date to Jewish conventions. In the Latin-speaking Christian world (and also later among the Quakers), Sunday was considered the "first day", Monday the "second day", etc., because that's what the Genesis creation narrative says.


This is taken from the Jewish understanding in Genesis 1:3 to 2:3. According to this tradition, the world was created on a Sunday, and that's why it's the first day (יום ראשון 'first day').


Early Christianity mostly adopted Sunday as the "Lord's Day". (You can still see the history of the two Western weekend days in Latin and Romance languages; for example in Portuguese Saturday is sábado 'sabbath' < L. sabbatum, while Sunday is domingo 'Lord's day' < L. dominicus.)



Actually it says "day one" (יום אחד).

Oh yeah, יום ראשון is the name of the weekday, not what it's called in Genesis 1:5. Thanks for the correction.

I used to consider Monday as the first day of the week. I started the week fed-up and ended it tired.

I chose to change the way I think and switched my calendars to start on Sunday. This allowed me to change my state of mind and start the week with activities that I enjoy and spare time.

It is 100% in my head, but it worked for me.

The problem which required your trick was also 100% in your head! We are such fascinating creatures.

The bible says saturday is the last day of the week, which means societies with a strong christian tradition use sunday as the start of the week.

Sunday is defined in law as the start of the week in some bits of English law, so there's that.

I don't think that's right, do you have any links?

Italy, Spain, Ireland, England... actually all european countries (AFAIK) use Monday as the start of the week. All countries with a strong christian tradition.

The only countries I know that use Sunday as the start of the week are the US and Israel.

A quick search in wikipedia[0] also mentions that it's used as the first day of the week in Hebrew tradition and in some muslim countries.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunday#Position_in_the_week

Traditionally England does not use Monday as the start of the week. This is easy to see if you look at older calendars.

At the moment there's some inconsistancy:

Sunday to Saturday: https://www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave/pay

Monday to Sunday: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/statutory-sick-pay-manually-calc...

Googling for ["sunday to saturday" inurl:gov.uk] or ["monday to sunday" inurl:gov.uk] shows a bunch of examplesof each.

EDIT: You asked for links, so here's something from 2009 asking why it's so hard to find a calendar that starts on a monday: http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,,-200944,...

> Why is it so hard to find a calendar that starts the week on a Monday, not a Sunday? It can't just be my family who gets outraged by this.

And here's something else from 2009 which (weirdly) explaining why it's so hard to find calendars that start on Sunday, not Monday.


tl;dr England used Sunday as the first day of the week until they started using ISO standards for time.

The week in the liturgical calendar starts on Sunday. I don't know when did the civil calendar diverge, but you can see sometimes traces of the old usage in the names of the days of the week (segunda-feira, etc. in Portuguese, Mittwoch in German).

Great explanation, thank you.

Because that's how 99% of calendars in the US order the days. It's not a choice, it's convention.

It's what you use in the US which you seem to think is some kind of standard. The rest of the world follows ISO 8601 where Monday is the first day.

It's what you use in the US which you seem to think is some kind of standard.

No, the commenter seems to think it's some kind of convention, as he clearly stated. The original question was, "but why do some people think the week starts on a Sunday?", and the answer given explains why "some people" (i. e., those in the U. S.) might think of Sunday as the first day of the week. Move along, no U.S.-centric conspiracies to be found here.

I've seen calendars use this format, but why? To me it would seem not to line up with how we treat our weeks? We talk about the work week as a contiguous block, and the weekend the same way, so why split one of those blocks over two rows?

If it were any other format other than what you were accustomed to, you'd still be asking the same question. It's just a common convention, it doesn't need to have any deeper meaning.

I think Daneel_'s point still holds true. Even though the convention in the US is that weeks start on Sunday, in natural language you can hear that people's mental model differ. For example

- "weekend" (that's "week end") includes both Saturday and Sunday

- "beginning of next week" means Monday/Tuesday

- "next week" in general seems to start on the Monday

So to me, the convention in the US seems to be more about how calendars are displayed than how we think about the week. Our two models disagree, so it's reasonable to ask why.

You can sleep in on Sunday, but you need to go to sleep at a reasonable hour which IMO suggests your preparing for the week aka starting it.

On the other hand Friday night through Saturday night is party time.

It actually starts on Sunday in some countries, still using primitive calendars...

Retail weeks start on Sunday too. Ads and coupons go out with the Sunday paper.


Most retail weeks. Grocery stores still often use a Wednesday->Tuesday week.

Seems relevant, Cron supports using 0 or 7 to refer to Sunday.

What a fascinating way to solve the problem.

You want Sunday as the first day? Fine, do your index zero-based and Sunday is Zero.

You want Monday as the first day? Fine, index 1-based and use 7 for Sunday.

Kind of brilliant.

Completely agree. When I first started using cron I was chuffed at this.

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