European versions of the calendar

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The traditional calendar in the US starts the week on a Sunday. Which is a little odd when you consider the very word “weekend.” After all, it makes sense that the weekend should be on the week’s end.

In the ongoing quest here at Supamoto to keep digging into how time can be shown it was pretty inevitable that the issue of the weekend being broken up every single week should come up eventually.

Right after making the first calendar I started to get requests for calendars with Monday as the first day of the week. All of these requests were coming from European countries which leads to the name of these calendars.
As to why Europe has these types of calendars, that goes back a lot further than this project.

The first day of the week is defined by the last day of the week, the day of rest. This was originally the Sabbath on Saturday. Thus the Sunday start was created.

In 321 A.D. Constantine decided that Sunday was to be the day of rest for the Roman Empire. Despite the change, Sunday was still considered to be the first day.

One big change was thanks to Saints Cyril and Methodius, two Greek brothers who brought Christianity to the Slavs in the 9th century. Along with religion they also taught that the first day of the week was Monday.

The idea looks like it stuck. Many of the Slavic languages’ names for Monday translates to “first day.”

It would take a change to a more industrial society to let people take two days off by default, though.

Fast forward to the 1879 and we get the first mention of the “week-end” in England. It was a little shorter than today since it started on Saturday afternoon and went through Sunday.

The weekend as we know it became official in the US in 1940 when the 40-hour workweek was established by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In 1988 the International Organization for Standardization issued ISO 8601 which chooses Monday as the official start of the week. This helps to at least bring our computers in sync even if physical calendars still differ.

So it appears that the European version is the “correct” version of time. Still, whatever you want to put up on your wall is completely up to you.