Sunday, 15 March 2009

A short history of the weekend

What did you do last weekend? You probably relaxed and didn't think about work for two days. But people didn't always have two-day weekends. Where does the weekend come from?

2000 B.C. - 1800 A.D.

Many people spent one day a week on religion. This was called a "holy day" in England, and the English word holiday comes from this expression. On this day people rested and prayed.

1800 - 1840

Sunday was the "holy" day. But many workers used this day to play games and have fun. And then they didn't go to work on Monday morning because they felt too tired. In the U.S., workers called these days "blue Mondays."


In England, Saturday afternoon became a holiday. Work stopped at one o'clock. This was the beginning of the weekend in England. Around 1900 in the U.S., workers began to take off Saturday afternoons in the summer. Then, by 1930, most offices were closed on Saturday afternoons all year.


Offices and factories were closed all day Saturday, and the two-day weekend began in the U.S. What did people do on those first weekends? They went to the theater or the movies. They took the train and visited their friends. They took walks in the park. They relaxed and had fun.


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