The Seven Days of the Week
The seven-day week is the International Standard week (ISO 8601) used by the majority of the world.
Starts Monday Or Sunday
Named for Gods and Planets
Most Latin-based languages derived the names of the seven days of the week from the Roman calendar where they related each day of the week with seven celestial bodies; the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
The English language has retained these names for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, however the planet names for the other days of the week were replaced by their equivalent Norse or Germanic gods.
Some Asiatic languages such as Hindi, Japanese and Korean have a similar relationship between the week days and the planets.
The seven-day-week provides a clear method of representing dates and times to avoid misinterpretation between people from different countries with varying traditions for writing numeric dates and times.
There are many different opinions as to how the seven-day week originated, but the most common explanation is that the seven-day week seems to have originated when Babylonian astrologers assigned planet gods to the days of the week around 700 BCE. The Romans later replaced these names with their own planet gods and Germanic and Norse people later did the same with some of their own gods.
When Is the Weekend?
As the first day of the week varies in different cultures, so does the weekend. The Christian or Western world marks Sunday as their day of rest and worship, while Muslims refer to Friday as their day of rest and prayer. The Jewish calendar counts Saturday– the Sabbath–as the day of rest and worship.
Both Saturdays and Sundays are common days of rest on the calendar, some countries use a separate color for the weekends and reserve the black or grey fonts for the weekdays, Monday-Friday.
52 Weeks & 1 Day
Some Years Have 53 Weeks
The weeks of the year in a Gregorian calendar are numbered from week 1 to week 52 or 53, depending on varying factors. These week numbers are commonly used in some European and Asian countries; but not so much in the United States.
In This Article
- Monday or Sunday first?
- Named for Gods and Planets
- Babylonian Origins
- When Is the Weekend?
- 52 Weeks & 1 Day
- Some Years Have 53 Weeks