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The Saturday scene in front of the synagogue in Fuerth, the women (left) wear Empire-style dresses , the men the festive costumes of the traditionally living Jews in southern and western Germany, Germany around 1800

The Saturday in the western and southern German area in Austria and Switzerland and Saturday mainly in northern and eastern Germany is in the civil calendar of the day between Friday and Sunday . According to traditional Judeo-Christian counting, it is the seventh and last day of the week , according to internationally standardized counting ( ISO 8601 ) it is the sixth.

In the Roman calendar , Saturday represented the first day of the week as the "day of Saturn " , since Saturn is the top of the seven weekday names in the downward sidereal ranking among the planets . Cassius Dio referred to the first direct evidence as the first weekday in connection with the city of Pompeii , which was destroyed on the "fourth weekday" (August 24, 79 AD) by the eruption of Vesuvius . In the further course, according to Christian counting, Saturday shifted from the first to the last day.

Saturday is a working day , even if it has not been a working day in most trades and crafts since the 1950s.

When calculating deadlines , however, Saturday is treated as a Sunday or public holiday: If the deadline ends on a Saturday, the deadline is extended to the next working day ( Section 193 BGB).

Furthermore, Saturday is not a bank working day internationally and therefore also not a TARGET day ; the Bundesbank's electronic retail payment system (EMZ) is suspended. This does not contradict the fact that some credit institutions occasionally on Saturdays, e.g. B. at train stations or airports keep their branches open to the public.

When the rent for a residential property is due , regulated by Section 556b (1) BGB, which states: "The rent is to be paid at the beginning, at the latest by the third working day of the individual time periods according to which it is measured," the Federal Court of Justice has on July 13, 2013 decided in a judgment that Saturdays do not count as working days.

The day has two terms in the High German language area, which are used in different regions, sometimes almost exclusively, sometimes in parallel, but recently there has been a tendency towards Saturday.



The name Saturday , Old High German sambaztac , comes from a developed vulgar Greek form * sambaton of the Greek word sabbaton , which ultimately refers to an equation of the term “day of Saturn” (also “Satertag”) based on the Hebrew term Šabbatai (“star ( Saturn) of the Sabbath ") and thus goes back to the Hebrew shabbath (" rest "," holiday "," Sabbath "). It spread up the Danube with the missionary work of the southern German-speaking area and is used today in Austria, southern and western Germany. It is a public holiday, especially in the Jewish religion and in the Seventh-day Adventist Church . The names in the Romance languages ​​are based on this: franz. le samedi , Italian il sabato , Spanish el sábado .

Linguistically untenable is the interpretation that the Old High German form S'Ambeths day was due, that is to one day in honor of a supposedly Norican -keltischen earth goddess Ambeth, one of three Bethen . This thesis seems to explain the geographical distribution in Austria and southern Germany quite well, but the theory of the existence of Bethen as a pagan goddess trinity is based solely on the dubious interpretations of the lay researchers Hans Christoph Schöll (1936: The Three Eternals ) and Richard Fester ( 1962: Language of the Ice Age ), whose theses are rejected by linguists practically without exception.


The term Saturday (Old High German: sunnunaband , old English sunnanæfen ) came from Old English to the German-speaking area, probably with the Anglo-Saxon mission . The second part originally meant "(morning) evening ". In the early Middle Ages, the naming extended to the entire day, as the day before the first day of Christmas ( Christmas Eve or on New Year's Day , see also English New Year's Eve ( Silvester ) or fortnight = 14 days out ags. Feorwertyne niht ). “Saturday” is mainly used in Northern Germany and East Central Germany .

“Saturday” was the official name in the GDR (according to the prevailing regional distribution). The term Saturday is also used in some German legal texts (e.g. in § 193 BGB or in shop closing laws in some northern and eastern German states) .

In Austria , Switzerland and southern Germany the term is largely uncommon and is only known as typically northern German in passive vocabulary.

Other forms

In Westphalia and in East Frisian Platt , the Low German Saterdag has been preserved (see Dutch Zaterdag , Afrikaans Saterdag , and English Saturday ), a loan translation from Latin Dies Saturni ("Day of Saturnus ").

Sonnamt in some places in colloquial language and in the Berlin dialect .

Subbotnik , the voluntary unpaid work on Saturday , is derived from the Russian word for Saturday, Subbota ( Russian Суббота ) . Such work assignments were at times more frequent in the GDR .

Place names

Place names with "Saturday" are derived from the medieval weekly markets and court days on Saturdays ( Latin sabbatum , Polish sobota , Hungarian szombat ). Examples are:

See also


  • Friedrich Fürstenberg, Irmgard Herrmann-Stojanov, Jürgen P. Rinderspacher (eds.): Saturday. About the emergence and change of a modern time institution (= research from the Hans Böckler Foundation. Volume 14). edition sigma, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-89404-874-3 .

Web links

Commons : Saturday  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Saturday  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Saturday  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Nachum T. Gidal: The Jews in Germany from Roman times to the Weimar Republic , Könemann, Cologne 1997, ISBN 3-89508-540-5 , p. 127.
  2. Pilot project “Survey on regional language use” , Faculty of Philology and History, University of Augsburg, with a Saturday / Saturday card
  3. In the BGB only the term Saturday is used: §§ 193, 580a and 621.
  4. On the introduction of the work-free Saturday in Germany, cf. Sascha Kristin Futh: The DGB discovered the campaign. The struggle for a Saturday off day. In: Work - Movement - History. Journal of Historical Studies . Issue II / 2016.
  5. ^ BGH judgment of July 13, 2010, Az.VIII ZR 291/09 - Federal Court of Justice PDF, accessed April 5, 2018
  6. ^ Emil Schürer : The seven-day week in use by the Christian church in the first centuries. Sample book of the Journal for New Testament Science (Volume 6), 1905, pp. 18-19.
  7. Kluge: Etymological dictionary of the German language .
  8. Peter Wiesinger : Historical foundations and requirements of the current German word geography. In: Lexicology: an international handbook on the nature and structure of words and vocabularies, ed. by DA Cruse Berlin 2001, p. 1126.
  9. ^ Stefan Sonderegger : Old High German Language and Literature: An Introduction to the Oldest German. Presentation and grammar. Berlin 2003, p. 373.
  11. Klaus-Peter Rosenberg: The Berlin dialect - and its consequences for the students. Tübingen 1986, p. 131.