Saudi Arabia changes weekend


The weekend in Saudi Arabia used to be Thursday and Friday, and this is now to change to Friday and Saturday. Friday is the Muslim holy day,  when men are supposed to go to the mosque for communal prayer. Friday prayer is the big prayer, there is usually a sermon as well.

This will be a great improvement for Saudis international trade, since they now overlap 4 days with large parts of the world instead of only three days, and they will have the same working week schedule with other GCC countries, which adopted this scheme earlier.

Mohammed al-Sheikh, chairman of the Capital Market Authority, said in a separate statement that the weekend shift will fulfil the needs of the Saudi economy, especially as the kingdom is a member of the Group of 20 nations.
“The weekend shift will unify trading days with the region’s markets and will reduce the gap with global markets to one day, which will lead to greater convergence with global markets,” al-Sheikh said.

The conservatives have been fighting this change of the official weekend. The change overrides years of objections from religious conservatives that Saudi Arabia, home of the most important two sites of Islam, should keep a weekend distinct from that of the West.
“We will be copying the Jews and the Christians,” prominent Saudi businessman Abdul Rahman Al Jeraisy said in 2007, when the king’s Shura advisory council considered the change.
The debate has been going on since 2007.

The kingdom’s new Shoura Council started in April to consider a shift in the weekend.
The change is now happening on June 29.  By royal decree.


read more:

Al Arabiya

The Guardian

Gulf News


32 Responses

  1. What happens in the private sector? Right now expatriates work half days on Thursday & off on Friday. I doubt Saturdays will be treated in the same manner: off on Friday and work half day on Saturday? I doubt it.

  2. next weekend Thursday Friday and Saturday will be public holidays. This is to ensure the transition. . I’m talking about public sector.

  3. My guess is private sector- half day Friday- off at Jumaa time for the rest of the weekend. Financial advantages are the same for business men who actually have been pushing for this change. And people will want the same weekends as their children.

  4. Finally KSA will have the same weekends ad the rest of the Gulf.

  5. Makes perfect sense since Friday sundown to Saturday sundown is the Jewish Sabbath :)-

  6. “The change overrides years of objections from religious conservatives that Saudi Arabia, home of the most important two sites of Islam, should keep a weekend distinct from that of the West.
    “We will be copying the Jews and the Christians,” ”

    Huh? We have Saturday and Sunday as our weekend so it’s not the same as the West. At least not the US.

  7. Yeah I don’t get that either, nor why being rational and streamlining your working week with the rest of the world is the same as ”emulating the Jews and the Christians”
    They have no problem emulating the Jews when it comes to the ancient Jewish custom of veiling women, they love that one. So I guess it’s just cherry picking as usual.

  8. Well, Julius Cesar added another month. And so did Augustus. So, why not?

    It’ll be millenniums, though, before the womenfolk will be able to walk around in burkabikinis under the hot sun of the empty quarter, too :)-

  9. Aafke, have you taken over the name ‘American Bedu’ now? This article says it is by American Bedu but this is obviously a new development in KSA so unless she is now posting from the grave…kinda creepy.

  10. I’ve heard the “whoever emulates a people is among them” argument applied to this and to countless other silly things. Apparently, changing your weekends, dressing in modern clothes, accepting a Christmas gift, et cetera, are all fast tracks to fitna.

  11. TE, but the prophet said that it’s ok to accept presents from people of other faiths on their religious holiday, (no meats) so it would be against the teachings of the prophet to prohibit accepting gifts…
    Cherry picking again I suppose. Anything which can make life dreary and dull….

  12. Lynn,

    But it does say at the end of the article that it was written by “AA”!!!!

  13. Aafke,

    That would have been a great thing for me to think to say on the first Valentine’s day of my marriage. Rarely have I seen a more conflicted, cautious expression on my husband’s face than the time he slowly accepted a box of valentine’s chocolates.

  14. Actually Moe, at the top it says it says it was posted ‘by American Bedu’ and at the bottom it just has AA. If you didn’t know better you would think it had been written by Carol. Creepy weird.

  15. TE, Valentine is nothing, just a cultural custom.
    However, there is no country on Earth where Valentine is more romantic than in SA. Imagine the personal dangers and huge expense of hard-earned cash one’s loved one has to go through and expend to get you a contraband red rose for black market price, a box of chocolate in a contraband red heart shaped box…
    This is the mark of true, enduring, courageous love!

    I suppose that’s what the expression on your hubby’s face meant, an overload of emotion when he realized the almost superhuman SAS effort you have gone through in order get him that illegal, illicit, impermissible token of love!!!!! ❤

  16. Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar did NOT add extra months. They named already existing months after themselves. In Julius’s case his birth month- not sure about Augustus. Julius also regularized the solar calendar- is the Julian Calendar.

  17. We use the Gregorian calendar, but the Julian calendar was it’s direct precursor. July is named for Julius Caesar, and Augustus for the later emperor Augustus. The other names are either Roman Gods and Goddesses, (March = Mars, June = Juno), or Latin words, or numbers. October November, December, eight, nine and ten. Because the old Roman calendar had only ten months.

  18. Hum… Do we need to add a disclaimer or warning for instances of extreme nerdiness on this blog?

  19. @Lynn,
    My guess is that it says it’s by American Bedu in order to show that it has been approved by the moderators, but I really don’t know. Please see the post “Americanbedu Blog Future” for more information and/or if you (or anyone else) would like to submit an article related to Saudi Arabia or Breast Cancer awareness to be read on here. I applaud Aafke in her time and effort to help the blog continue.

  20. The Julian calendar adjusted and brought the calender into alignment with the seasons. Two months were renamed for Julius and Augustus later but they were already existing months. And it was the precursor to the Gregorian calender as Afke says. I have to read more about whether/when they moved from 10 to 12- but I do know it wasn’t July and August they added. Those were renames.

    “The Julian reform did not immediately cause the names of any months to be changed. The old intercalary month was abolished and replaced with a single intercalary day at the same point (i.e. five days before the end of February). January continued to be the first month of the year.
    The Romans later renamed months after Julius Caesar and Augustus, renaming Quintilis as “Iulius” (July”

  21. OK. Roman calendar always had 12 months. Julius at the time of alignment added two to correct things but not permenantly so that year they had 14. The inter calculary days (sp?) were often added between February and March so I wonder if at some ancient point March was the first month? Because I don’t understand the October-December namings.
    I”ll do some more research 🙂

  22. I can now confirm here that March used to be the Roman New Year until 46 BC. My work here is done.

  23. I have been looking it up too, fascinating isn’t it? Youa re right on the twelve months, they just shifted. And ”february” comes from ”februa”, ”to cleanse” I suppose that’s why we still do spring cleaning???

    Strange one, thanks for your nice comment. We are a team of Carol’s friends who are working to keep her blog going. I actually find it quite hard to write because it makes me miss her very much.

  24. I miss Carol. Can’t believe she’s gone.

    Aafke, were you able to make it to her funeral?

  25. No. 😦 I had my flight ticket but she died before and the funeral was really fast.

  26. I know this is normally not appropriate comment but I am going ‘off the topic’
    @Aafke, you are doing a wonderful job with Carol’s blog:) The articles thus far have been fascinating!!! Great work.

  27. I am going off the topic too : great job Aafk
    the blog is always so interesting!

    now, about changing week-end, it was inevitable to have the same
    weekend as the rest of the Gulf. but almost all Saudis I know aren’t happy with it.Because it’s putting the day of rest before the day in which they used running activities.

  28. ditto on aafke-art!!!

  29. @Aafke,
    In that case, thank you to the whole team of friends who have been contributing to the blog. I think you all are doing a great job of choosing topics, and I look forward to reading upcoming ones. The website may have changed slightly as every person has a different personality and writing style (in other words, it won’t be exactly as before), but as long as it promotes understanding between cultures (particularly Saudi and American/Western) then I think it is fulfilling what Carol wanted and in the process continuing to help many people understand other cultures and societies.

    I’m sorry to hear you weren’t able to make it to Carol’s funeral. 😦

  30. Thanks everybody. I really appreciate your support.
    It’s not just me, we are a group ”Friends of Carol”.
    We have been helping Carol out since several years, Since she got ill, including writing articles, so there should be very little difference.

    During her illness the blog gave Carol pleasure, an interest and diversion from her sickness. By helping her we made Carol happy and it was a relief to her to know that the blog was being looked after. It was her last wish to the team that we kept her blog alive, so even though it makes us sad we are trying to keep it up, to keep interesting discussions going, and that can only happen with the participation of you all.
    All of you are more important than just writing an article from time to time, it’s all of you, your opinions, the things you share, your experiences and your comments which make this blog what it is.
    We are all part of the same team. The glue which keeps us together is Carol’s personality.

  31. not all companies changed the days totally

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