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For most observant Christians, Sunday is observed as a day of worship and rest, holding it as the Lord's Day and the day of Christ's resurrection. In some Muslim countries and Israel, Sunday is the first work day of the week. According to the Hebrew calendar and traditional calendars (including Christian calendars) Sunday is the first day of the week. But according to the International Organization for Standardization ISO 8601, Sunday is the seventh day of the week.
The name "Sunday", the day of the Sun, is derived from Hellenistic astrology, where the seven planets, known in English as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon, each had an hour of the day assigned to them, and the planet which was regent during the first hour of any day of the week gave its name to that day. During the 1st and 2nd century, the week of seven days was introduced into Rome from Egypt, and the Roman names of the planets were given to each successive day.
Germanic peoples seem to have adopted the week as a division of time from the Romans, but they changed the Roman names into those of corresponding Teutonic deities. Hence, the dies Solis became Sunday (German, Sonntag).
The English noun Sunday derived sometime before 1250 from sunedai, which itself developed from Old English (before 700) Sunnandæg (literally meaning "sun's day"), which is cognate to other Germanic languages, including Old Frisian sunnandei, Old Saxon sunnundag, Middle Dutch sonnendach (modern Dutch zondag), Old High German sunnun tag (modern German Sonntag), and Old Norse sunnudagr (Danish and Norwegian søndag, Icelandic sunnudagur and Swedish söndag). The Germanic term is a Germanic interpretation of Latin dies solis ("day of the sun"), which is a translation of the ancient Greek heméra helíou. The p-Celtic Welsh language also translates the Latin "day of the sun" as dydd Sul.
In most Indian languages, the word for Sunday is Ravivāra or Adityavāra or its derived forms — vāra meaning day, Aditya and Ravi both being a style (manner of address) for Surya i.e. the Sun and Suryadeva the chief solar deity and one of the Adityas. Ravivāra is first day cited in Jyotisha, which provides logical reason for giving the name of each week day. In the Thai solar calendar of Thailand, the name ("Waan Arthit") is derived from Aditya, and the associated colour is red.
The Modern Greek word for Sunday, Greek: Κυριακή, is derived from Greek: Κύριος (Kyrios, Lord) also, due to its liturgical significance as the day commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, i.e. The Lord's Day.
In Korean, Sunday is called 일요일 Il-yo-Il, meaning "day of sun". In Japanese, Sunday is 日曜日 Nichiyōbi, which translates to "sun day".
The Arabic word for Sunday is الأحد (Al-Ahad), which means "The first". Usually it's comes after the word يوم (Youm or Yom) which means day. Which translates as "The first day" when combining them.
Position in the week
The international standard ISO 8601 for representation of dates and times, states that Sunday is the seventh and last day of the week. This method of representing dates and times unambiguously was first published in 1988.
Culture and languages
In the Judaic, some Christian, as well as in some Islamic tradition, Sunday has been considered the first day of the week. A number of languages express this position either by the name for the day or by the naming of the other days. In Hebrew it is called יום ראשון yom rishon, in Arabic الأحد al-ahad, in Persian and related languages یکشنبه yek-shanbe, all meaning "first".
In Greek, the names of the days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday ("Δευτέρα", "Τρίτη", "Τετάρτη" and "Πέμπτη") mean "second", "third", "fourth", and "fifth" respectively. This leaves Sunday in the first position of the week count. The current Greek name for Sunday, Κυριακή (Kyriake), means "Lord's Day" coming from the word Κύριος (Kyrios), which is the Greek word for "Lord". Similarly in Portuguese, where the days from Monday to Friday are counted as "segunda-feira", "terça-feira", "quarta-feira", "quinta-feira" and "sexta-feira", while Sunday itself similar to Greek has the name of "Lord's Day" ("domingo"). In Vietnamese, the working days in the week are named as: "Thứ Hai" (second day), "Thứ Ba" (third day), "Thứ Tư" (fourth day), "Thứ Năm" (fifth day), "Thứ Sáu" (sixth day), "Thứ Bảy" (seventh day). Sunday is called "Chủ Nhật", a corrupted form of "Chúa Nhật" meaning "Lord's Day". Some colloquial text in the south of Vietnam and from the church may still use the old form to mean Sunday. In German, Wednesday is called "Mittwoch", literally "mid-week", implying that weeks run from Sunday to Saturday.
The name is similar in the Romance Languages. In Italian, Sunday is called "domenica", which also means "Lord's Day" (from Latin "Dies Dominica"). One finds similar cognates in French, where the name is "dimanche", as well as Romanian ("duminică") and Spanish and Portuguese ("domingo").
Slavic languages implicitly number Monday as day number one, not two.
|Polish||Slovak||Czech||Ukrainian||Bulgarian||Russian||literal or derived meaning|
|Monday||poniedziałek||pondelok||pondělí||понеділок||понеделник||понедельник||(day) after not working|
|Sunday||niedziela||nedela||neděle||неділя||неделя||воскресенье||not working (day)|
Russian воскресение (Sunday) means "resurrection (of Jesus)" (that is the day of a week which commemorates it). In Old Russian Sunday was also called неделя "free day" or "day with no work", but in the contemporary language this word means "week". Hungarian péntek (Friday) is a Slavic loanword, so the correlation with "five" is not evident to Hungarians. Hungarians use Vasárnap for Sunday, which means "market day".
In the Maltese language, due to its Siculo-Arabic origin, Sunday is called "Il-Ħadd", a corruption of "wieħed" meaning "one". Monday is "It-Tnejn" meaning "two". Similarly Tuesday is "It-Tlieta" (three), Wednesday is "L-Erbgħa" (four) and Thursday is "Il-Ħamis" (five).
In Armenian, Monday is (Yerkoushabti) literally meaning 2nd day of the week, Tuesday (Yerekshabti) 3rd day, Wednesday (Chorekshabti) 4th day, Thursday (Hingshabti) 5th day. Saturday is (Shabat) coming from the word Sabbath or Shabbath in Hebrew, and "Kiraki" coming from the word "Krak" meaning "fire" is Sunday, "Krak" describing the sun by fire. Apostle John also refers to the "Lord's Day" (in Greek, Κυριακή ἡμέρα, "kyriake hemera" i.e. the day of the Lord) in Rev. 1:10, which is another possible origin of the Armenian word for Sunday.
In the Persian calendar, Sunday is the second day of the week. However, it is called "number one" as counting starts from zero; the first day - Saturday - is denoted as 00.
Sunday in Christianity
In Roman culture, Sunday was the day of the Sun god. In paganism, the Sun was a source of life, giving warmth and illumination to mankind. It was the center of a popular cult among Romans, who would stand at dawn to catch the first rays of sunshine as they prayed.[dubious ]
The opportunity to spot in the nature-worship of their heathen neighbors a symbolism valid to their own faith was not lost on the Christians. One of the Church fathers, St. Jerome, would declare: "If pagans call [the Lord's Day] [...] the 'day of the sun,' we willingly agree, for today the light of the world is raised, today is revealed the sun of justice with healing in his rays."
A similar consideration may have influenced the choice of the Christmas date on the day of the winter solstice, whose celebration was part of the Roman cult of the Sun.[dubious ] In the same vein, Christian churches have been built and are still being built (as far as possible) with an orientation so that the congregation faced toward the sunrise in the East. Much later, St. Francis would sing in his famous canticle: "Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness."
On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.
Despite the official adoption of Sunday as a day of rest by Constantine, the seven-day week and the nundial cycle continued to be used side by side until at least the Calendar of 354 and probably later.
In 363, Canon 29 of the Council of Laodicea prohibited observance of the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday), and encouraged Christians to work on the Saturday and rest on the Lord's Day (Sunday). The fact that the canon had to be issued at all is an indication that adoption of Constantine's decree of 321 was still not universal, not even among Christians. It also indicates that Jews were observing the Sabbath on the Saturday.
Some Christian denominations, called "Sabbatarians", observe a Saturday Sabbath. The name "Sabbatarian" has also been claimed by Christians, especially Protestants, who believe Sunday must be observed with just the sort of rigorous abstinence from work associated with "Shabbat". Christians in the Seventh-day Adventist, Seventh Day Baptist, and Church of God (Seventh-Day) denominations, as well as many Messianic Jews, have maintained the practice of abstaining from work and gathering for worship on Saturdays (sunset to sunset) as did all of the followers of God in the Bible.
For most Christians the custom and obligation of Sunday rest is not as strict. A minority of Christians do not regard the day they attend church as important, so long as they attend. There is considerable variation in the observance of Sabbath rituals and restrictions, but some cessation of normal weekday activities is customary. Many Christians today observe Sunday as a day of church-attendance.
In Roman Catholic liturgy, Sunday begins on Saturday evening. The evening Mass on Saturday is liturgically a full Sunday Mass and fulfills the obligation of Sunday Mass attendance, and Vespers (evening prayer) on Saturday night is liturgically "first Vespers" of the Sunday. The same evening anticipation applies to other major solemnities and feasts, and is an echo of the Jewish practice of starting the new day at sunset. Those who work in the medical field, in law enforcement, and soldiers in a war zone are dispensed from the usual obligation to attend Church on Sunday. They are encouraged to combine their work with attending religious services if possible.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Sunday begins at the Little Entrance of Vespers (or All-Night Vigil) on Saturday evening and runs until "Vouchsafe, O Lord" (after the "prokeimenon") of Vespers on Sunday night. During this time, the dismissal at all services begin with the words, "May Christ our True God, who rose from the dead ...." Anyone who wishes to receive Holy Communion at Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning is required to attend Vespers the night before (see Eucharistic discipline). Among Orthodox Christians, Sunday is considered to be a "Little Pascha" (Easter), and because of the Paschal joy, the making of prostrations is forbidden, except in certain circumstances. Leisure activities and idleness, being secular and offensive to Christ as it is time-wasting, is prohibited[dubious ].
Some languages lack separate words for "Saturday" and "Sabbath" (e. g. Italian, Portuguese). Outside the English-speaking world, Sabbath as a word, if it is used, refers to the Saturday (or the specific Jewish practices on it); Sunday is called the Lord's Day e. g. in Romance languages and Modern Greek. On the other hand, English-speaking Christians often refer to the Sunday as the Sabbath (other than Seventh-day Sabbatarians); a practice which, probably due to the international connections and the Latin tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, is more widespread among (but not limited to) Protestants. Quakers traditionally referred to Sunday as "First Day" eschewing the pagan origin of the English name, while referring to Saturday as the "Seventh day".
The Russian word for Sunday is "Voskresenie," meaning "Resurrection day." The Greek word for Sunday is "Kyriake" (the "Lord's Day"). The Czech, Polish, Slovenian, Croatian, Serbian, Ukrainian and Belarusian words for Sunday ("neděle," "niedziela," "nedelja", "nedjelja," "недеља", "неділя" and "нядзеля" respectively) can be translated as "without acts (no work)."
Common occurrences on Sunday
In government and business
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In the United States and Canada, most government offices are closed on both Saturday and Sunday. The practice of offices closing on Sunday in government and in some rural areas of the United States stem from a system of blue laws. Blue laws were established in the early puritan days which forbade secular activities on Sunday and were rigidly enforced. Some public activities are still regulated by these blue laws in the 21st century. In 1985 twenty-two states in which religious fundamentalism remained strong maintained general restrictions on Sunday behavior. In Oklahoma, for example, it is stated: "Oklahoma's statutes state that "acts deemed useless and serious interruptions of the repose and religious liberty of the community," such as trades, manufacturing, mechanical employment, horse racing, and gaming are forbidden. Public selling of commodities other than necessary foods and drinks, medicine, ice, and surgical and burial equipment, and other necessities can legally be prohibited on Sunday. In Oklahoma a fine not to exceed twenty-five dollars may be imposed on individuals for each offense." Because of these blue laws, many private sector retail businesses open later and close earlier on Sunday or don't open at all.
Many countries, particularly in Europe such as Sweden, France, Germany and Belgium, but also in other countries such as Peru, hold their national and local elections on a Sunday, either by law or by tradition.
Many American and British daily newspapers publish a larger edition on Sundays, which often includes color comic strips, a magazine, and a coupon section; may only publish on a Sunday, or may have a "sister-paper" with a different masthead that only publishes on a Sunday.
North American radio stations often play specialty radio shows such as Casey Kasem's countdown or other nationally syndicated radio shows that may differ from their regular weekly music patterns on Sunday morning or Sunday evening. In the United Kingdom, there is a Sunday tradition of chart shows on BBC Radio 1 and commercial radio; this originates in the broadcast of chart shows and other populist material on Sundays by Radio Luxembourg when the Reithian BBC's Sunday output consisted largely of solemn and religious programmes. The first Sunday chart show was broadcast on the Light Programme on 7 January 1962, which was considered a radical step at the time. BBC Radio 1's chart show moved to Fridays in July 2015 but a chart update on Sundays was launched in July 2019.
Period or older-skewing television dramas, such as Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Lark Rise to Candleford and Heartbeat are commonly shown on Sunday evenings in the UK; the first of these was Dr Finlay's Casebook in the 1960s. Similarly, Antiques Roadshow has been shown on Sundays on BBC1 since 1979 and Last of the Summer Wine was shown on Sundays for many years until it ended in 2010. On Sunday nights, BBC Radio 2 plays music in styles it once played most of the time but which are now rarely heard on the station, with presenters such as Clare Teal and Don Black. Even younger-skewing media outlets sometimes skew older on Sundays within the terms of their own audience; for example, BBC Radio 1Xtra introduced an "Old Skool Sunday" schedule in the autumn of 2019.
Many American, Australian and British television networks and stations also broadcast their political interview shows on Sunday mornings.
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Major League Baseball usually schedules all Sunday games in the daytime except for the nationally televised Sunday Night Baseball matchup. Certain historically religious cities such as Boston and Baltimore among others will schedule games no earlier than 1:35 PM to ensure time for people who go to religious service in the morning can get to the game in time.
In the United States, professional American football is usually played on Sunday, although Saturday (via Saturday Night Football), Monday (via Monday Night Football), and Thursday (via Thursday Night Football or Thanksgiving) see some professional games. College football usually occurs on Saturday, and high-school football tends to take place on Friday night or Saturday afternoon.
In the UK, some club and Premier League football matches and tournaments usually take place on Sundays. Rugby matches and tournaments usually take place in club grounds or parks on Sunday mornings. It is not uncommon for church attendance to shift on days when a late morning or early afternoon game is anticipated by a local community.
One of the remains of religious segregation in the Netherlands is seen in amateur football: The Saturday-clubs are by and large Protestant Christian clubs, who were not allowed to play on Sunday. The Sunday-clubs were in general Catholic and working class clubs, whose players had to work on Saturday and therefore could only play on Sunday.
In Ireland, Gaelic football and hurling matches are predominantly played on Sundays, with the first (used to be second) and fourth (used to be third) Sundays in September always playing host to the All-Ireland hurling and football championship finals, respectively.
Professional golf tournaments traditionally end on Sunday. Traditionally, those in the United Kingdom ended on Saturday, but this changed some time ago; for example, the Open ran from Wednesday to Saturday up to 1979 but has run from Thursday to Sunday since 1980.
In the United States and Canada, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League games, which are usually played at night during the week, are frequently played during daytime hours - often broadcast on national television.
Most NASCAR Sprint Cup and IndyCar events are held on Sundays. Formula One World Championship races are always held on Sundays regardless of time zone/country, while MotoGP holds most races on Sundays, with Middle Eastern races being the exception on Saturday. All Formula One events and MotoGP events with Sunday races involve qualifying taking place on Saturday.
Sunday is associated with the Sun and is symbolized by ☉.
- Advent Sunday
- Black Sunday
- Bloody Sunday
- Cold Sunday
- Easter Sunday represents the resurrection of Christ
- Gaudete Sunday is the third Sunday of Advent.
- Gloomy Sunday
- Good Shepherd Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Easter.
- Laetare Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Lent.
- Low Sunday, first Sunday after Easter, is also known as the Octave of Easter, White Sunday, Quasimodo Sunday, Alb Sunday, Antipascha Sunday, and Divine Mercy Sunday.
- Passion Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Lent as the beginning of Passiontide (since 1970 for Roman Catholics in the ordinary form of the rite, the term remains only official among the greater title of the Palm Sunday, which used to be also the "2nd Sunday of Passiontide")
- Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter.
- Selection Sunday
- Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima Sunday are the last three Sundays before Lent. Quinquagesima ("fiftieth"), is the fiftieth day before Easter, reckoning inclusively; but Sexagesima is not the sixtieth day and Septuagesima is not the seventieth but is the sixty-fourth day prior. The use of these terms was abandoned by the Catholic Church in the 1970 calendar reforms (the Sundays before Lent are now simply "Sundays in ordinary time" with no special status). However, their use is still continued in Lutheran tradition: for example, "Septuagesimae".
- Shavuot is the Jewish Pentecost, or 'Festival of Weeks'. For Karaite Jews it always falls on a Sunday.
- Stir-up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent.
- Super Bowl Sunday
- Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost.
- Whitsunday "White Sunday" is the day of Pentecost.
- After Saturday Comes Sunday
- Blue laws
- Saint Kyriake
- Sol Invictus
- Sunday Christian
- Sunday (computer virus)
- Sunday Island
- Sunday league football
- Sunday Morning
- Sunday night blues
- Sunday roast
- Sunday school
- Sunday shopping
- Cf., e.g., Matt. 28:1 at https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Bible_(King_James)/Matthew#Chapter_28
- "Monday shall be identified as calendar day  of any calendar week, and subsequent calendar days of the same calendar week shall be numbered in ascending sequence to Sunday (calendar day )." Further discussion: UK National Physical Laboratory: "Which is the first day of the week? And which is week 1 of the year? (FAQ - Time)": |http://www.npl.co.uk/science-technology/time-frequency/time/faqs/which-is-the-first-day-of-the-week-and-which-is-week-1-of-the-year-(faq-time) (Archive here: https://archive.today/20160716145156/http://www.npl.co.uk/science-technology/time-frequency/time/faqs/which-is-the-first-day-of-the-week-and-which-is-week-1-of-the-year-(faq-time)
- Barnhart (1995:778).
- "ДНИ НЕДЕЛИ - СЛАВЯНСКАЯ СЕДЬМИЦА". Retrieved 2013-06-19.
- J. R. Stockton. "Calendar Weeks". Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- St. Jerome, Pasch.: CCL 78, 550, as quoted in: CCC 1166.
- Owen Chadwick (1998). A History of Christianity. St. Martin's Press. p. 22.
- Martyr, Justin, First Apology, 67.3.
- Zerubavel, Eviatar (1989). The Seven Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week. University of Chicago Press. p. 45. ISBN 9780226981659.
- Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church: Vol. II: From Constantine the Great to Gregory the Great A.D. 311–600 (New York: Charles Scribner, 1867) page 380 note 1.
- The Chronography of 354, Part 6: The calendar of Philocalus A–G is the seven day week and A–H is the nundial cycle.
- "Canon 29 of the Council of Laodicea". Ccel.org. 2005-06-01. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
- "Guide to Quaker Calendar Names". Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Retrieved 30 March 2017.
In the 20th Century, many Friends began accepting use of the common date names, feeling that any pagan meaning has been forgotten. The numerical names continue to be used, however, in many documents and more formal situations."
- "Blue law | American history". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
- "Blue Laws | The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture". www.okhistory.org. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
- BBC Genome Project - Radio Times listings
- Savage, Mark (24 March 2015). "Radio 1 chart show moving to Friday afternoons". Retrieved 30 December 2016 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Music Week website, 10 July 2019
- The Kaleidoscope British Independent Television Drama Research Guide 1955-2010 and The Kaleidoscope BBC Television Drama Research Guide 1936-2011, Kaleidoscope Publishing
- "Search Results - BBC Genome". Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- The British Television Comedy Research Guide 1936-2011, Kaleidoscope Publishing, 2011
- The Swing and Big Band Show, BBC Radio 2, 4 August 2019
- Don Black, BBC Radio 2, 4 August 2019
- BBC press release, 5 August 2019
- Radio Times listing - Wednesday 18 July 1979
- Radio Times listing - Sunday 20 July 1980
- Barnhart, Robert K. (1995). The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-270084-7
- Bacchiocchi, Samuele. From Sabbath to Sunday: a historical investigation of the rise of Sunday observance in early Christianity (Pontifical Gregorian University, 1977)
- Cotton, John Paul. From Sabbath to Sunday: a study in early Christianity (1933)
- Kraft, Robert A. "Some Notes on Sabbath Observance in Early Christianity." Andrews University Seminary Studies (1965) 3: 18–33. online
- Land, Gary. Historical Dictionary of the Seventh-day Adventists] (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014)
- González, Justo. "A Brief History of Sunday: From the New Testament to the New Creation" (Eerdmans, 2017)
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