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Monday, July 26, 2010

Living in Cairo: The Weekend

When Islam began, they looked around and saw that the Jews had taken Saturday for their holy day, the Christians had taken Sunday for theirs, and so they took Friday, not wanting to share with anyone else.  That long ago, there was no concept of a weekend or workweek, and so nobody wondered how their weekend would line up with anyone else's.

And when that weekend finally arrived (most likely with the British), Sunday was dropped, Friday was added and Saturday kept.  Except if you're Saudi, and then they added Thursday before Friday and skipped Saturday and Sunday altogether.

As we're living in a Muslim country, our Sabbath is now on Friday and following the Sabbath, we have Saturday off.  This arrangement causes all sorts of complications, the most distressing being the inborn compulsion to call the second hour of church Sunday school.  Friday school doesn't quite roll of the tongue so easily, but it's not Sunday, and so what do you do?  I don't think that anyone has ever quite resolved the question, and so I got called to Primary and don't have to struggle with that issue any more.

In addition to the continual slips of the tongue the change of Sabbath causes - I once was told that a library book was due back on Sunday, and I had to ask if that was Sunday Sunday or Friday - it also causes scheduling issues.  Date night is a sacred tradition in our family, but there is no good night for it - Thursday is right after work and right before the Sabbath (and with three small children and Brandon MIA at meetings in the morning and perpetual 9:30 schedule is not a day to sleep in), Friday is the Sabbath, and Saturday is a work- and school-night.  

We just go out on Thursday, but everyone else in the community uses Friday for any and all major events.  Brandon tries to avoid going to any events, but there have been a few the he hasn't been able to avoid and once we had to even get a babysitter.  The DCM (second in command) here is LDS, and I can only imagine how much he has to attend.

However, there is something nice about having the Sabbath really be the Sabbath, and not a day of dreading the return to work and normal life.  I have grown quite fond of spending the evenings reading, playing games, or catching up on blogs.  Saturday is no longer a special day, the day we get ready for Sunday.  Instead it's a day we recover from Friday (depending on how the previous Friday went).  

However, just about the time I get used to calling the Sabbath Friday, and remember to prepare for it on Thursday and resign myself to never attending any Embassy balls, we'll move and have to readjust all over again.  Perhaps with all of the switching, I'll decide which option really is better.  But I think there's a third, superior option - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.


UnkaDave said...

So, Sunday School is on Friday, but Sunday is like Monday, which is sort of Tuesday, if you take my meaning. What's a Friday? And Saturday, well, just forget it.
Sorry to miss you on the webcam, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing all of you next week, when I can tickle certain young persons in person.

Bridget said...

Yeah, I can't decide which way I prefer it. There are advantages to each. I like your idea of adding Sunday to the mix. That would solve the problem :).