Days of the week

What is the first day of the week?


The Bible clearly makes Saturday (the Sabbath) the last day of the week. Therefore it is common Jewish and Christian practice to regard Sunday as the first day of the week.

However, the fact that, for example, Russian uses the name ``second’’ for Tuesday, indicates that some nations regard Monday as the first day. Chinese also follows this system as most would be aware.

In international standard ISO-8601 the International Organization for Standardization has decreed that Monday shall be the first day of the week.

So I suppose the answer depends on whether you want to come from a religeous or internationally recognised viewpoint.

Chinese, as far as I know, think Sunday is the first day, not Monday as you say. Yes, Monday is associated with 1, but Sunday is ‘heaven’s day.’ And heaven comes first.
But as I always say: ‘never argue facts,’ so ask a bunch of Chinese what is the first day of the week to them.

Well I was thinking of from a teaching English point of view. I had a big argument with a Taiwanese English teacher about this once because she wouldn’t let me sue my song which had the order Mon-Sun becuase she insisted Sun was the first day.

My reasoning: Sat and Sun anre the weekEND. Monday is the first day of the WEEK (as opposed to weekEND).

Her reasoning: Sunday is the first day of the week because it’s the first day of the week.

She won that argument of course, becuase she was paying me.

Now the question has come up because I’m teaching form a book which has such stupid sentences as ‘Monday is the second day of the week’. Now I always thought that it wasn’t important and as kids would associate ‘Xing Qi Yi’ - Monday - one, I’d teahc that way, but then I aked them and they said Saturday is Zhoumo (end of the week) and Sunday is Jia Ri and the first day of the week.

Anyway, just wondering if there is some standard that everyone but me is aware of.

Oh yeah, regarding the biblical, I always thought that Saturday was the Sabbath (laqst day of the week) but later the Christians changed this to Sunday (except for seventh day adventists who decided to go back to Jewish Sabbath) so form a Christian perspective Monday would eb the first day again.


From experience, I can tell you that you have two options:

  1. Hold your ground because you are right.
  2. Remember not to bite the hand that feeds.

…sing a song…with children about the days of the week…uugghhh…that sends shivers down my spine.

If you’re talking about English, Sunday, not Monday, is the first day of the week. That’s how it’s been defined. Check a dictionary if you don’t believe me. Look at how calendars are laid out.

But the teacher is being too picky if she won’t let you teach a song that starts with Monday.

For Muslim the Friday is the Sunday. Does that make it the last day of the week?

Malaysia actually follows the Western calender, i.e. Sunday is off and hence Monday is the first working day. (Applies IMHO to all but the two states which are ruled by some Islamic fundamentalists, the same who do not won’t pretty girls to work because they can easily find a rich man).

Anyhow, I think it depends on the country you are in. In e.g. Germany the Monday is definetely the first day of the week. Not sure if this is based in religious believes or if it has been defined like that before, may need to check the DIN …

As for Taiwan … dunno. My collegueas say if it’s based on the American system the Sunday should be it, but she says there is no Taiwanese standard.

When I was in Malaysia during 92-93 Friday was not worked. I think this was a Federal law and nothing to do with PAS. I think Sunday was a work day too…? Oh I don’t remember - everyday was beer day for me.