The new Sunday-Thursday workweek

When I moved to Saudi, probably the single most culturally significant difference was that the weekend was on Thursday and Friday. It took me weeks to even know what day it was on a daily basis. All my life, Sunday had started my week and provided an anchor for the next seven days. In Saudi, all that was turned around.

Well, it’s been five months now, halfway through my contract here, and Saudi officially just changed the weekend. I can’t even comprehend that, the idea that a government can just change the weekend. But they did. And so we are.

It means the country will stop losing so much money because it’ll be able to do business with other countries in the west for four days out of the week instead of just three. On the other hand, it means my students won’t get to stay out all day doing whatever on Thursday before repenting to begin the following week.

For all the foreigners working here, it means the country has stepped slightly closer to what we’re used to. But it also means Saudi just lost the single most culturally significant difference that, on a weekly basis, set it apart.