The weekend--one or two days, typically Saturday and Sunday--are days on which most workers do not work. This is a time for Leisure and Recreation. There is substancially less activity on Wikipedia on weekends.
The notion of a weekly rest is ancient; Judeo-Christian religions celebrate a day of rest known as the Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath is known as Shabbat, and is on the seventh day of the week; the Christian Sabbath is known as the Lord's Day, and is on the first day of the week; the Muslim Sabbath is on the sixth day of the week.
"People do dream of enjoying their work by doing it at a rhythm which suits them and varying their rhythm for different occupations. This notion of personal rhythm was what the Industrial Revolution attacked and tried to destroy. How that happened can be seen in the forgotten history of the weekend. The English word has been adopted by almost every language, but it represents a poisoned gift from the English to humanity."
This quote suggests that the modern weekend is a result of the Industrial Revolution and perhaps the need to give factory workers a rest. It also suggests that the English gave not only the word "weekend" to the rest of the world but also the concept. Both suggestions are obviously false, as religions had been observing the Sabbath in very much this sense for millennia.
Another article, When, How, and Why Was the Sabbath Changed from Saturday to Sunday?, may be of interest in this connection.
I would like the interested Wikipedian to write the authors of the above articles, or to do more research and writing themselves, to see to it that a complete treatment of this very interesting topic be given on Wikipedia! (And, of course, the completed article could easily be given the NuPedia treatment after that.)
I have a number of questions on this topic that I would enjoy having answered:
- What is the history of the weekend, or a weekly or periodic rest, in China and the rest of the Far East?
- At what time did East and West begin enjoying their weekend days on the same days?
- What are the cultural differences between ways weekends are spent?
- In the West, culturally speaking, the Sabbath forms the fundamental reason for a day of rest. What reason, if any, is there for a day or days of rest in other cultures, e.g., in China and sub-Saharan Africa?
- Are there cultures that do not have a day of rest?
- What are the results of psychological or other scientific studies on the effects of regular rests or lacks thereof?
- Have there been any cultures in which there was not a day of rest every seven days, but some other number, such as five or ten?
- Are there any good arguments that the institution of five-days-on, two-days-off should be changed? (Are any good arguments on that even possible? What would a good argument about such matters be like?)
I have many questions, but few answers... -- Larry Sanger