Thought Leadership

What is the first day of the week?

By Colin Walls

On a previous occasion, I suggested that it was time for change. I feel strongly that our calendar – 7 day weeks, which do not fit properly into months of apparently random length or into the 365/366 day year – does not really work well in the 21st century and we could do better.

This came into my mind of late when I realized that we cannot even use the calendar we have properly …

I recently heard about National Engineers Week and, thinking that it was a good idea, decided to write about it. I did a bit of research and discovered that this week was always scheduled to be the one that contains George Washington’s birthday (22 February). To me, that would logically be the week beginning Monday 16 February, that Sunday being the last day of the week. But that is not the case. NEW is this week – starting Monday 23 February, because, in the US, they start the week on calendars on Sunday.




So, why is that? Most, if not all, other countries regard Monday as the start of the week. The Bible even specifies it as such – God spent 6 days creating stuff, then took his day of rest. We are taught the Sunday is the day of rest, so it must be the last day of the week. Even the English language gives the clue. We call Saturday/Sunday “weekend”, not “weekendandstart”.

Can anyone explain this anomaly? Better still, could we possibly fix it?

BTW, I do know that in the scriptures, Saturday is the last day of the week, which is how they operate in Israel, for example. Their week actually starts on Sunday and they work through Thursday; their weekend is Friday/Saturday and Saturday is the day of rest. I guess my original question might be adjusted to “Why do other countries not adopt the Jewish week?” A further comment is you can have Sunday as the first day of the week or you can have it as the day of rest – not both.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at