Starting Day of the Week
International Standard ISO 8601 is used by the majority of the countries around the world, and it states that Monday is the opening day of the week. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday come after Monday, which means Sunday is the seventh and last day of the week.
Some countries have diverted from the international standard system and changed the first day of the week. For example, in the USA and Canada, Sunday is considered to be the start of the week. Many Middle Eastern countries consider Saturday as the first day of the week.
Named After Gods and Planets
The names of the seven days of the week are originated from the Latin language of the Roman calendar. The seven days are associated with the seven celestial bodies considered to be gods in ancient religions and eras. These seven planets and stars include Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Sun, and Moon.
The planets’ names for Monday, Saturday, and Sunday are maintained in the English language. For the remaining days of the week, the names are substituted by Germanic or Norse gods.
Other languages like Korean, Hindi, and Japanese also have connections between the names of the days of the week and the heavenly bodies.
The international seven days of the week are immensely helpful in the universal representation of dates and time to prevent any ambiguity between people from different areas.
Origin of Seven Days
There are several contradictory theories about the origin of the seven days of the week. However, the most acceptable explanation is that Babylonian astrologers considered planets as gods, so they had designated the names to the days of the week in about 700 BCE.
In later years, the Roman changed the names with the names of their own gods. A similar thing was practiced by the Norse and Germanic people after several decades of the Roman era.
When does the Weekend start?
As stated, the first day of the week varies from country to country; therefore, the weekend is also different in various cultures. Western countries consider Sunday to be the holiday as it is closely associated with the day of worship by Christians. Muslims consider Friday to be the day to special congregation prayer, so Middle East countries have adopted Friday as the weekend. Similarly, Saturday – Sabbath – is the day of worship of the Jews.
Most commonly, both Saturday and Sunday are combinedly called the weekend in Western, European, and most of the Asian countries. Calendars are often marked with different colors to show the weekends.
Weeks in common and Leap year
In an ordinary year, there are a total of 52 weeks of seven days plus one day. In a leap year, there are 52 weeks of seven days plus two days.
Calenders with 53 weeks
Some calendars are designed in a way that runs from week 1 to week 53. It varies from country to country, but it is usually done in Asian and European countries. Most of the calendars in the USA are from week 1 to week 52.