Time of day

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As time of day time periods within a day designated. Times of day are culturally defined differently, can be adjacent to one another or overlap one another, may have a variable or a fixed duration, and are used approximately or precisely. Depending on the underlying concept of the day, the range from sunrise to sunset is interpreted as a whole day or a part of it is set off as day versus night . Different divisions, divisions and classifications have been developed for the respective ranges - up to successive sections as hours , which as temporal periods last differently depending on the season, as equinox are approximately the same length or as hour h are based on the same time measure.

During the day, times can be set that refer to daylight or the position of the sun . Such times of the day then apply to a specific location on that day.

If the information relates to a narrow range around the relatively highest position of the sun (high noon), this local time can be transmitted and also apply to other locations of the same geographical longitude . Depending on their latitude , the sun is now at different heights at noon ; their angle of incidence is thus different and their daily curve from opening to setting spans differently. Without taking these circumstances into account, times of the day that define time spans based on brightness cannot be transferred to other locations. Depending on the season, similar restrictions may also be necessary for the same location if the time of day regulations should not only apply to this one day.

Sections of the day divide the day into time spans and are needed to be able to adhere to an approximate time rule or to make appointments - be it to take a boat out to sea at the first ray of sunshine or to be able to participate in certain rituals, e.g. B. the evening bells ring or is called to prayer. A process that is designed according to the time of day - and its change in the course of the seasons - is part of the immediate social experience. To share and compare these is historically the motive for time measurement and calculation of time .

Times of day in the German-speaking cultural area

In the German-speaking cultural area, the day is usually divided into the times of day night (with midnight ), morning , morning , noon , afternoon and evening . These sections can also overlap.

The different time of the day are often snacks divided that are pronounced differently depending on the region and can take place at different times. Some of the classifications that exist in the German language are: B. not in French or English. So the morning is still part of the morning there, because no “second breakfast” is common.

Times of day in law

The legislature provides numerous regulations that refer to the time of day. This includes aspects of labor law such as overtime , night and shift work or flexitime , regulations on noise protection ( afternoon rest , night rest ) and other immissions, shop opening times , exceptions within the road traffic regulations ( night driving ban ), regulations on tariff structure , such as the telecommunications laws or non-regular passenger traffic ( taxi Trade), guard duty in the executive branch and in the military , through to special forms of civil protection such as a night curfew in crisis situations and in particular the protection of minors .

Historical times of the day and divisions of the day in different cultural areas

The division of the day, for example into times of day, has existed since the beginning of time.

Twelve hours: “Babylonian” and “Roman” schedule

The day division in antiquity already knew twelve hours , but these were calculated from sunrise and were either of the same length ( Babylonian hours ) or of variable length ( Roman hours ) depending on the season .

  • The Roman times of the day were called hora I. – XII. (Hours), with the morning hour as hora prima , the night was divided into 4 sections named vigilia I.–IV. ('Night watch'), two before and two after midnight ( media nox ). The Romans originally counted the morning hours backwards. 3 am or 3 hours ante meridiem means 'three hours before noon', as opposed to the modern meaning 'three hours after midnight'.
  • The Horen , literally “the hours”, were the originally Greek goddesses who oversaw the orderly life. They were the patron goddesses of the different times of the day. In Greek tradition, the twelve hours were counted from just before sunrise to just after sunset.
  • This ancient division has been preserved as the day division in the designation of the liturgical times of the day Prim , Terz , Sext , Non . They were named after the first, third, sixth, and ninth hours of the day. According to the Regula Benedicti, Matutin , the nocturnal prayer, should be prayed at the “eighth hour of the night”, which corresponds to about 2 o'clock. Laudes (morning prayer), Vespers (evening prayer) and Compline (night prayer) are not tied to precisely defined hours, but the time of the prayer should correspond as closely as possible to the time of day.
  • In Spanish there is the siesta , the name of which is derived from the Latin hora sexta for the sixth hour, the noon hour.

Times of day of the Middle Ages and early modern times

The modern day division into two twelve hours of equal length ( Italian hours , initially beginning at sunset) did not appear until the 14th century with the mechanical wheel clock, initially as a church tower clock . From 1660, grandfather clocks became widespread, and from 1790 simple clocks were found in every household.

Since daylight , in addition to the weather, had a decisive influence on the activities of the population working in agriculture until the end of the 20th century, artificial lighting was also widespread in commercial professions from the 16th century . Daily working hours of 14 to 16 hours were the norm at that time, and numerous businesses had a daily schedule and self-determined times of day that were adapted to the work routine.

It was not until the beginning of industrialization that the times of day were finally tied to the clock. In some early industrial trades it was usual to start work at 4 a.m. ( early shift ), followed by a lunch break lasting several hours, which is comparable to the siesta in the Mediterranean region, and another long late shift. It was only as a result of the workers' struggles from around 1850 to the 20th century that regular working hours began to prevail, which resulted in the division of times of day that is common today.

middle East

In the cultures of the Semitic language , the day traditionally begins at nightfall. This is important to this day for the beginning of the Sabbath and Islamic holidays .

A division of the day has been handed down from Persian that follows the Babylonian beginning of the day: The Rōsgār ("times of day") are Hāwan ("morning"), Uapihwin ("afternoon"), Usērin ("evening"), Ēbsrūsrim (sunset to midnight) and Ushahin (midnight to dawn) - the last two are collectively referred to as a shab ("night"); see Middle Persian day names .

Times of the day in the Arctic Circle

In the Arctic Circle , a division of the days into times of day, read from the position of the sun, during the polar night or the polar day is unthinkable. One speaks of the subjective day , which is based on getting up and going to bed. In fact, however, residents of both the European as well as the Russian and North American Arctic Circle today simply follow the customary classifications of the time of day and orient themselves to the time. Nevertheless, in these regions and where there are white nights , special midsummer festivals are widespread around the summer solstice , and during these weeks social life is practiced at almost all times of the day.

Reception in art

See also


  • Edward P. Thompson: Time, Work-discipline and Industrial Capitalism . In: Past and Present. No. 38, 1967, pp. 56-97.
  • Time, Labor Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism . In: Rudolf Braun, Wolfram Fischer, Helmut Großkreutz, Heinrich Volkman (eds.): Society in the industrial revolution . Cologne 1973, ISBN 3-462-00932-X , pp. 81–112.

Web links

Wiktionary: Time of day  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. The Roman Calendar - www.die-roemer-online.de, based on: Johannes Irmscher , Renate Johne (Hrsg.): Lexikon der Antike . Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1962.
  2. a b Isabella Andrej: The "Blue Monday". A form of resistance to industrial discipline of working hours . Seminar New History WS 1993/94: Univ. Prof. Edith Saurer , Work and Labor Struggles in Europe, 18th to 20th Century . Institute for Advanced Studies Vienna. ( Online document ; PDF; 0.3 MB) - cf. the article Blue Monday
  3. ↑ Time of day, time of day . In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm : German Dictionary . Hirzel, Leipzig 1854–1961 ( woerterbuchnetz.de , University of Trier).