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Saturnus, Caravaggio, 16th c.

Saturday ( in the United States or in England ) is the day of the week between Friday and Sunday. Saturday is considered either the sixth or seventh day of the week.

It was named no later than the second century for the planet (Saturn) , which controlled the first hour of that day according to Vettius Valens. The planet was named for the Roman god of agriculture Saturn. It has been called dies Saturni ("Saturn's Day"), through which form it entered into Old English as Sæternesdæg and gradually evolved into the word "Saturday".

Saturday is the only day of the week in which the English name comes from Roman mythology. The English names of all of the other days of the week come from Germanic polytheism. In Indiamarker, Saturday is Shanivar, based on Shani, the Vedic God manifested in the planet Saturn. In the Thai solar calendar of Thailandmarker, the day is named from the Pali word for Saturn, and the color associated with Saturday is purple. The Celtic languages also name this day for Saturn: Irish an Satharn or dia Sathuirn, Scottish Gaelic Disathairne, Welsh dydd Sadwrn, Breton Sadorn or disadorn.

In Jewish Law Saturday is the seventh day Shabbat. Thus, in many languages the Saturday is named after the Sabbath. Eastern Orthodox churches distinguish between the Sabbath (Saturday) and the Lord's Day (Sunday). Roman Catholics put so little emphasis on that distinction that many among them follow – at least in colloquial language – the Protestant practice of calling Sunday the sabbath (see Sabbath in Christianity). Quakers traditionally refer to Saturday as "Seventh Day" eschewing the "pagan" origin of the name. In Islamic countries, Fridays are holidays, however they are considered as the sixth day of the week.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church Saturdays are days on which the Theotokos (Mother of God) and All Saints are commemorated, The day is also a general day of prayer for the dead, because it was on a Saturday that Jesus lay dead in the tombmarker. The Octoechos contains hymns on these themes, arranged in an eight-week cycle, that are chanted on Saturdays throughout the year. At the end of services on Saturday, the dismissal begins with the words: "May Christ our True God, through the intercessions of his most-pure Mother, of the holy, glorious and right victorious Martyrs, of our reverend and God-bearing Fathers…". For the Orthodox, Saturday is never a strict fast day. When a Saturday falls during one of the fasting seasons (Great Lent, Nativity Fast, Apostles' Fast, Dormition Fast) the fasting rules are always lessened to an extent. The Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the Beheading of St. John the Baptist are normally observed as strict fast days, but if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the fast is lessened.

In Scandinavian countries, Saturday is called Lördag or Laurdag, the name being derived from the old word laugr/laug (hence Icelandic name Laugardagur), meaning bath, thus Lördag equates to bath-day. This is due to the Viking usage of bathing on Saturdays.

Today, Saturday is officially called Samstag in all German-speaking countries, however, there are two names for this day in modern Standard German. Samstag is always used in Austriamarker, Liechtensteinmarker, the German speaking part of Switzerlandmarker and generally used in southern and western Germanymarker. It derives from Old High German sambaztac, which itself derives from Greek Σάββατο, and this Greek word derives from Hebrew שבת (Shabbat). However, the current German word for sabbath is Sabbat. The second name for Saturday in German is Sonnabend, which derives from Old High German sunnunaband, and is closely related to the Old English word sunnanæfen. It means literally "Sun eve", i.e. "The day before Sunday". Sonnabend is generally used in northern and eastern Germany, and was also the official name for Saturday in East Germanymarker. In the Westphalian dialects of Low Saxon, in East Frisian Low Saxon and in the Saterland Frisian languagemarker, Saturday is called Satertag, also akin to Dutch Zaterdag, which has the same linguistic roots as the English word Saturday.

Similarly, the Romance languages follow the Greek usage, so that their word for "Saturday" is also a variation on "Sabbath": the Italian is sabato, the French is samedi, the Spanish and Portuguese is sábado and the Romanian is sâmbătă.

The modern Maori name for it, Rahoroi, means "washing-day". For other languages, see Days of the week Planetary table.

Position in the week

The three Abrahamic religions, via their original languages, regard Saturday as the seventh day of the week (Judaism via Hebrew, Christianity via Ecclesiastical Latin, and Islam via Arabic) by naming Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday as the second through sixth days of the week. This is concordant with the European Pagan tradition, which named the days of the week after the seven Classical planets (in order Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn), naming the first day of the week for the Sun, perceived as most important, and moving to those perceived as lesser.

All Slavic languages derive their name for Saturday from Abrahamic tradition (e.g. Czech/Slovak/Polish: sobota; Russian: суббота, subbota; Serbian/Ukrainian: субота, subota) due to the pre-Christian belief that Saturday is the day of the dead and thus spent in silence and not named.

A similar numbering trend is also exhibited by the Baltic languages.

Beginning in the twentieth century, many Europeans have considered Saturday the sixth (penultimate) day of the week, and Sunday the last. This current European labour-oriented convention has been formalized by ISO 8601 which is used by businesses such as airlines in drawing up timetables, etc.


  • Saturday is generally a work-free day in most countries. See Workweek.
  • Saturday is the official day of rest in Israelmarker, on which all government offices and most businesses, including some public transportation, are closed
  • Saturday is the usual day for elections in Australia and the only day in New Zealandmarker on which elections can be held, and also the preferred election day in the U.S. state of Louisianamarker.
  • In many countries where Sundays are holidays, Saturday is part of the weekend, and is traditionally a day of relaxation.
  • Saturday morning is a notable television time block aimed at children while airing generally animated cartoons.
  • It is common for clubs, bars and restaurants to be open later on Saturday night than on other nights. Thus "Saturday Night" has come to imply the party scene, and has lent its name to the films Saturday Night Fever, which showcased New Yorkmarker discotheques, Uptown Saturday Night, as well as many songs (see below).
  • Saturday night is also a popular time slot for comedy shows on television. The most famous of these is Saturday Night Live, a skit show that has aired on NBC nearly every week since 1975. Other notable examples include Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell. This practise lent its name to the film Mr. Saturday Night, starring Billy Crystal.
  • In folklore, Saturday was the preferred day to hunt vampires, because on that day they were restricted to their coffins. It was also believed in the Balkans that someone born on Saturday could see a vampire when it was otherwise invisible, and that such people were particularly apt to become vampire hunters. Accordingly, in this context, people born on Saturday were specially designated as sabbatianoí in Greek and sâbotnichavi in Bulgarian; the term has been rendered in English as "Sabbatarian".
  • The amount of criminal activities that take place on Saturday nights has led to the expression, "Saturday night special" a pejorative slang term used in the United States and Canada for any inexpensive handgun.
  • The Australian Football League Grand Final is traditionally held on the last Saturday in September. Saturday afternoon (2:10pm) is also the traditional timeslot for an Australian Rules football match, although modern television schedules and other factors mean there are now many other timeslots in which games are played as well as on Saturday afternoons.
  • A large majority of football league games are played in the UK on a Saturday.
  • In Amherst, Nova Scotiamarker, Canadamarker the Holiday 'Good Saturday' is celebrated by everybody giving a cake to each other

Saturday in popular culture

See also


  1. In

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