Saturday is the day of the week between Friday and Sunday.
According to the ISO 8601 international standard, it is the sixth day of the week. However, in the US, Canada, and Japan, it’s counted as the seventh day of the week. In Nepal, Saturday is the last day of the week and is the only official weekly holiday. Saturday is the seventh day and became the Jewish day of rest, the Sabbath. Saturday is the official day of rest in Israel, in which all government offices, most businesses, and some public transportation are closed.
In many languages, the names given to the seven days of the week are derived from the names of the classical planets in Hellenistic astronomy, which were in turn named after contemporary deities, a system introduced by the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity.
The eanglish names of the day of the week were coined in the Roman era, in Greek and Latin.
The Romans named Saturday Sāturni diēs meaning “Saturn’s Day” – no later than the 2nd century for the planet Saturn, which controlled the first hour of that day, according to Vettius Valens.
Saturn was a god in ancient Roman religion, and a character in Roman mythology. He was described as a god of generation, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewal and liberation. Saturn’s mythological reign was depicted as a Golden Age of plenty and peace. After the Roman conquest of Greece, he was conflated with the Greek Titan Cronus. Saturn’s consort was his sister Ops, with whom he fathered Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Juno, Ceres and Vesta.
Saturday is the only day of the week that retained its Roman origin in English.
The day’s name was introduced into West Germanic languages and is recorded in the Low German languages such as Middle Low German sater(s)dach, Middle Dutch saterdag (Modern Dutch zaterdag) and Old English Sætern(es)dæġ and Sæterdæġ.
In Scandinavian countries, Saturday is called lördag, lørdag, 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 practice of bathing on Saturdays. The roots lör, laugar and so forth are cognate to the English word lye, in the sense of detergent. The Finnish and Estonian names for the day, lauantai and laupäev, respectively, are also derived from this term.
In most languages of India, Saturday is Shanivāra, vāra meaning day, based on Shani, the Vedic god manifested in the planet Saturn.
The modern Māori name for Saturday, rahoroi, literally means “washing-day” – a vestige of early colonized life when Māori converts would set aside time on the Saturday to wash their whites for Church on Sunday.
In Japanese, the word Saturday is 土曜日, doyōbi, meaning ‘soil day’ and is associated with 土星, dosei: Saturn (the planet), literally meaning “soil star”. Similarly, in Korean the word Saturday is 토요일, tho yo il, also meaning earth day. The element Earth was associated with the planet Saturn in Chinese astrology and philosophy.
In the Thai solar calendar of Thailand, the day is named from the Pali word for Saturn, and the color associated with Saturday is purple.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saturdays are days on which the Theotokos (Mother of God) and All Saints are commemorated, and the day on which prayers for the dead are especially offered, in remembrance that it was on a Saturday that Jesus lay dead in the tomb. The Octoechos contains hymns on these themes, arranged in an eight-week cycle, that are chanted on Saturdays throughout the year.
Holy Saturday is the final day of Holy Week, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, when Christians prepare for the latter. The day commemorates the Harrowing of Hell while Jesus Christ’s body lay in the tomb. Christians of the Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican and Reformed denominations begin the celebration of the Easter Vigil service on Holy Saturday, which provides a transition to the season of Eastertide – in the Moravian Christian tradition, graves are decorated with flowers during the day of Holy Saturday and the celebration of the sunrise service starts before dawn on Easter Sunday.
In Sweden and Norway, Saturday has usually been the only day of the week when especially younger children are allowed to eat sweets, lördagsgodis in Swedish and lørdagsgodtteri in Norwegian. This tradition was introduced to limit dental caries, utilizing the results of the infamous Vipeholm experiments between 1945–1955.
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.
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 “Sabbatarians”.
In the folk rhyme Monday’s Child, “Saturday’s child works hard for a living”.
In astrology, Saturn is associated with Saturday, its planet’s symbol Saturn symbol (fixed width).svg, and the astrological signs Capricorn and Aquarius.