Ask LH: Why Do Some Calendars Start on a Sunday?

Ask LH: Why Do Some Calendars Start on a Sunday?

Everything in our lives is digital these days, so you may not find yourself looking to an old-school wall calendar for your plans. But if you do, whether it’s on your computer or a hard copy, you’ll find that most are set out to have Sunday at the start of the week.

This is a move that has divided many people. Some think calendars should start on a Sunday, others think they should start on a Monday. There is rarely any middle ground.

No matter which side you land on in this debate, the conversation started me wondering about the origins of calendars and how they’ve evolved to form the little grids we plan our lives around.

I also wanted to prove the Sunday stans wrong, so let’s examine further.

Why is Sunday the start of the week?

The answer to this question is complicated and really comes down to your region and religious faith (if you have one).

The ABC did an interview with University of Queensland lecturer, Professor Roland Sussex, in 2019 where he explained that those aligned with Christian or Jewish faiths are more likely to consider Sunday the first day of the week.

This can be linked to the Book of Genesis in the bible which began with God saying on the first day “let there be light” which correlates to the sun. But then, Genesis also said on the seventh day that God rested, which is often why Sunday is considered a holy day, so I’ll leave you to make your own mind up about that one.

It also goes back to ancient Egyptian and Roman traditions, which celebrated the sun god and so chose the “day of the sun” as their first day of the week.

Regions including the US, Canada and many South American countries officially consider Sunday the first day of the week.

Why is Monday the start of the week?

The international standard, however, cites Monday as the first day of the week.

As the ABC reports, 1964 saw the introduction of the International Organisation for Standardisation (IOS), which determined Monday as the start of the week.

This also coincides with the start of the working week, which is why Monday has become more widely adopted.

Officially, Australia follows the IOS and calls Monday the first day of the week. But given plenty of traditions call for Sunday, there’s really no hard rule.

As we know, plenty of regions celebrate occasions on different days and the start of the week is no different.

While it still bugs me that 90% of the calendars I go to buy have Sunday as the beginning of the week, it really is down to personal choice at this point.

Where do you stand on the issue? Is Sunday or Monday the official start of your week?

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