When is the weekend, really?

In the United States, asking most people “When is the weekend?” would be followed with a “Are you serious?” or maybe even a “What are you a f***ing moron?”.  It would seem like an obvious answer, “The weekend is Saturday and Sunday”.  However, I think there are some people willing to disagree with what we traditionally consider “The Weekend”.  So let’s get started and see if another answer exists.

The Why

Let’s first begin with the why.  Why did this topic come up in the first place?  The topic actually came to me a few days ago when I overheard two people discussing when the weekend was.  One person was set on the traditional Saturday and Sunday weekend while the other was dead set on Friday and Saturday being the weekend.  I personally have spent the past four years calling Wednesday and Thursday my weekend, because those are the two days I get off in a row each week.  I suppose the three of us only agree on one thing, the weekend consist of two back-to-back days.

when_weekend_1
When is the weekend? (note to self: make a new drawing)

What is the weekend?

The Romans had every eighth day off for “Market Day”.  The French Revolutionary Calendar had 10 day weeks, where every tenth day was a “leisure day”.  The weekend in modern times revolves around our 7 day weeks and is a day or days of rests after a week of labor (the work week).  The United States, along with most other Western Societies, adopted the work week and weekend during the nineteenth century.  The work week being Monday through Friday and the weekend being Saturday to Sunday.  For some religious beliefs, Sunday is the “day of worship” and working on the lord’s day is considered unacceptable.  Other weekends revolving around religion are either Thursday to Friday, Friday to Saturday, or Saturday to Sunday.

So when is the weekend, really?

Throughout history and even in the present, the weekend seems to vary.  Although a standard appears to be forming as the world becomes more connected, the weekend is still debatable.  Technically speaking, the weekend would be Friday and Saturday or just Saturday.  That is when an actual week ends.  People often spend their Friday nights and Saturday to get all the fun stuff out of the way and Sunday as a day to recover, relax or prepare for the next work week.  In that case, the weekend starts Friday after work (e.g. 5pm) and ends Sunday when we go to sleep.

By convention, the weekend is two full days of rest on Saturday and Sunday.  My conclusion however is this: the weekend is relative.  Depending on your work or school schedule, your weekend may not be the same as the person sitting or standing  next to you.  For those who do not work or attend school, or who’s daily schedule does not have a “leisure day”, the closest thing you have to a weekend is the one set by standards — Saturday and Sunday.

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