This is the last post in my series looking at the days of the week in English. Today, we will be investigating what the days of the week mean culturally in modern America. Certain holidays, activities, and rituals are related to specific days of the week in different cultures. These aspects of culture may not always be apparent to those who are new to a culture. I hope this post helps you become familiar with attributes related to the days of the week in American culture.
The first thing that comes to mind for many Americans when they think of the day ‘Sunday’ is that this is observed by Christians as a day of rest and religious worship. Many Americans attend church on Sunday, often for a few hours in the morning. This day is also the end of the weekend (Saturday and Sunday constitute the weekend). Weekend days in the United States are days off from work for many people. This is often a day to do fun activities, house work, and see friends and family.
This is the start of the work week for most Americans. Many people do not look forward to Monday mornings because that means it is time to go back to work. Also, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in the United Sates has made it so that the observance of certain holidays in the United States always fall on Mondays. These holidays include George Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Veteran’s Day. There are a number of other state and federal Monday holidays in the United States as well. This means Monday, more often than other days of the week, might be a day off from work.
There are even a number of songs in English written about this day! Here are some lyrics from a famous song by The Mama’s and the Papa’s called “Monday, Monday”:
Monday Monday, so good to me,
Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday morning, Monday morning couldn’t guarantee
That Monday evening you would still be here with me.
Monday Monday, can’t trust that day,
Monday Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be
Oh Monday Monday, how could you leave and not take me.
Every other day, every other day,
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me cryin’ all of the time
Elections in the United States are almost always held on Tuesdays. Federal elections (for example presidential elections) always take place on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
In English this day is also often referred to as “hump day.” The reason this term is used is because Wednesday is in the middle of the work week and if one thinks of getting through a work week like climbing a hill, you climb up the hill on Monday and Tuesday, then Wednesday you are at the top of the hill (sometimes called the hump), and the rest of the work week (Thursday and Friday) is down hill or easy. “Hump day” is a very common expression in English.
In the United States, Thursday nights are often considered the most important night for evening television shows. The most popular shows on TV often are shown on Thursday nights. For college students in the United States, Thursday is often the beginning of the weekend. In many colleges there are few or no classes on Friday and so students often have parties or go to bars on Thursday night because they can sleep in on Friday morning. On a college campus you might hear the expression “thirsty Thursday” which refers to the drinking and parties college students go to in order to celebrate the start of the “weekend.”
This is the last day of the workweek in the United States. Often people celebrate the end of the workweek by going out for drinks, going out to eat at a restaurant, or (often when you have a family) ordering pizza to be delivered to the house and watching a movie. Also, it is important to know that a Friday that falls on the13th day of the month is considered be an unlucky day by many people in the United States.
For many Americans Saturday is a day to relax, sleep in, have fun, see friends and family, and catch up on all that you have fallen behind on at home during the work week. Young children growing up in the United States over the last 50 or more years will remember Saturday morning as a time to watch cartoons and child-oriented television. Saturday night is also a popular time for adult television shows like, Saturday Night Live, which has aired nearly every Saturday night since 1975. Saturday night is a common night to have parties, go out to eat at restaurants, and go to the movies/theater/music concerts.