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"The Resurrection" by Carl Heinrich Bloch

Sunday is the first day of the week in many Christian/Western countries. Its name comes from the word Sun. Sunday, Monday, and Saturday, unlike the other days of the week, are not named after Germanic pagan gods (Tyr, Woden, Thor, and Frey). Sunday and Monday are named after the Sun and the Moon, and Saturday is named after the Roman god Saturn.

Biblical context

According to Exodus 20:8 (King James Version), "Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD". This is why Orthodox Jews are willing to work on Sunday, but not on Saturday, on the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath. Sunday is also the day of the resurrection of Jesus.

Cultural practices

Most Christians go to church on Sunday, the traditional day of worship and rest facilitated (but not established) by a decree of Constantine in the fourth century and later reflected as church law during the Middle Ages.[1] Christian children (and sometimes adults) often attend religious classes on Sundays, commonly referred to as Sunday Schools. In some places, commercial enterprises such as banks and stores, are closed. Some localities still have what are called blue laws that prevent people from working on Sunday.

Traditionally, Quakers objected to the traditional names of the days because of their pagan derivation, and refer to Sunday as "First day," Monday as "Second day," and so forth. Modern Quakers use the usual names in daily life, but refer to Sunday as "First day" in any Quaker context (for example, religious education classes are called "First day school.")


  1. Fahlbusch, E. (ed). "Sunday" in The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 5; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing; Grand Rapids. Page 229, (2008)

See also

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