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Why Sunday is a holiday, Who started it?

After working six days from Monday to Saturday, people wait for Sunday. Sunday means a day off. A day of fun for the children, a day of rest for the elders, and a day of rest work for a lot of people.

By Ground report
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Why Sunday is a holiday, Who started it?

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During a rally in Dumka, Jharkhand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised concerns over a recent proposal to change the weekly holiday from Sunday to Friday in one district, stating, "Sunday holiday is not related to Hindus but to the Christian community."

Quoting PM Modi's remarks, "Now see, in our country, there is a holiday on Sunday. When the British ruled here, the Christian community considered it a holy day. So when did the Sunday tradition start? Now Sunday is not connected to Hindus. It is connected to the Christian community. This has been going on for two hundred to three hundred years. Now they have imposed restrictions on Sunday holiday in one district. They said there will be a holiday on Friday. Now there is a fight with Christians as well. First a fight with Hindus. Then a fight with Christians. What is going on, friends?"

After working six days from Monday to Saturday, people wait for Sunday. Sunday means a day off. A day of fun for the children, a day of rest for the elders, and a day of rest work for a lot of people. Have you ever wondered why Sunday is a holiday? What is the history of holiday on this day? Here we are telling how the holiday started on Sunday.

Why Sunday is a holiday, Who started it?

On 7 March 321, Emperor Constantine who was the First Roman ruler who embrace Christianity has declared Sunday a public holiday so that people could attend churches.

Emperor Constantine decreed in A.D. 321 that the official Roman week was the seven-day week and declared 'Sunday' a public holiday. He implemented the first civil legislation concerning Sunday in AD 321 and commanded that all work stop on that day (Sunday), allowing farmers to work if necessary.

According to the International Standardization Organization ISO, Sunday is considered to be the last day of the week and it is a common holiday on this day. Sunday comes from Old English “Sunnandæg," which is derived from a Germanic interpretation of the Latin dies solis, "sun's day." Germanic and Norse mythology personify the sun as a goddess named Sunna or Sól.

In 321, Constantine I, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, decreed that Sunday would be a day of rest. This was to allow people to attend churches and to respect the time people spent worshiping the sun. 

    • On 7 March 321 Rome’s first Christian Emperor decreed that Sunday would be observed as the Roman day of rest.


    • On 10th June 1890, British Government declared sunday as a holiday in India.


  • In 1844, the governor general of British, introduced the provision of ‘Sunday Holiday’ for the school going students. 

How it Sunday Holiday Started in India?

When the Britishers came to India, there was no holiday here on Sundays. The mill workers here worked for seven days, while the British had to go to church on Sundays. Narayan Meghaji Lokhande who was a mill worker campaigned for sunday to be declared as holiday.

Lokhande didn’t accept the defeat, he continued his struggle. After a 7-year long struggle, on 10th June 1890, British Government declared sunday as a holiday for Indian workers.

Religious beliefs are said to be behind the holiday on Sunday in most countries. Like in Islam, Friday means Jumma. Similarly, Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians consider Sunday as the day of God and in most Christian countries including Europe, people go to church on Sunday.

Diary of Robert Wallace. Photo Credit: Community Archives/Flickr

Weekly holidays are of great importance after a working week of 5 or 6 days. There are many things that people do in these days. In most countries, Sunday is a off day, but there are also countries where it is not a rest day.

The tradition of observing Sunday as a holiday has its roots in the British rule. The British Government used to consider Sunday as a day off to attend church and carry out personal tasks, but Indian workers were required to work all seven days of the week. Narayan Meghaji Lokhande led a movement advocating for a day off for Indian workers. After seven years of persistent efforts, the British government finally declared Sunday as a holiday. As a result, Sunday officially became a holiday in India on June 10, 1890.

Romans declared Sunday a holiday in AD 321, adopted by India in 1890

People in ancient civilizations worshipped the Sun-God and dedicated Sundays to him. To respect this, Sunday was declared a holiday. In India, Narayan Meghaji Lokhande, known as the father of the trade union movement, fought for seven years to make Sunday a holiday. This was finally granted on June 10, 1890, during British rule.

The seven-day week started with the Babylonians who observed seven celestial bodies - the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. This concept spread to the Romans and then to other parts of the world, including India, which might have introduced it to China.

Emperor Constantine made Sunday a public holiday and the official start of the Roman week in A.D. 321. The Romans also wanted Saturday to be a holiday because it was the ‘Sabbath’ among the Jews and named after a Roman God - Saturn. Today, many employers give their employees a half or full-day off on Saturdays.

Epiphany Holiday: Most Up-to-Date. Photo Credit: Jean Rebiffé, 2014, CC BY 4.0.

Julius Caesar’s astronomers explained the need for 12 months in a year and a leap year to align with the seasons. Our day is one full rotation of the Earth, and our year is one revolution of the Earth around the Sun, which takes 365 and ¼ days. That’s why we add an extra day in February every four years.

So, in a year, we have 52 Sundays and 52 Saturdays, making 104 holidays. Next time you enjoy your weekend, remember to thank the Babylonians, Romans, Narayan Meghaji Lokhande, and of course, the Sun-God.

Sunday in Hindu Calendar

According to the Hindu Calendar, the week starts with Sunday. It is the day of the ‘Surya Devta’, as per the Hindu tradition, it is the day when Surya and all the other gods and goddesses are worshipped.


Sundays are considered a holiday for a few reasons in India:

  • The Hindu calendar starts on Sunday, and it is believed that peace and prosperity come in life when the week starts on Sunday.
  • When India was under British rule, mill workers had to work six days a week and had no holiday or leave to rest.
  • Narayan Meghaji Lokhande, a leader of mill workers, presented a proposal for a weekly holiday in front of the British. He said that after working hard for six days, workers should get a day to serve their country and society.
  • Sunday is the day of the Hindu deity "Khandoba". 

In these countries Sunday is not Off

In most Muslim countries, Friday is considered a day of worship. For this reason, there is a holiday on Friday instead of Sunday. 

  • Nepal
  • Iran
  • Bahrain
  • Iraq
  • Yemen
  • Jordan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Kuwait
  • Israel
  • Libya
  • Syria
  • Maldives
  • Sudan
  • Malaysia
  • Saudi Arab
  • Oman
  • Queue
  • Palestine
  • Egypt
  • Bangladesh
  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria

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