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Saturday (i// or //) is the day of the week following Friday and preceding Sunday. Saturday is the seventh and therefore last day of the week according to many commonly used calendars, but it is the second-to-last (sixth) day of the week according to ISO 8601 (see below). Its Latin name dies Saturni ("Saturn's Day") entered into Old English as Saeternesdaeg. Saturday was named no later than the 2nd century for the planet Saturn, which controlled the first hour of that day according to Vettius Valens.
The weekday heptagram, i.e. the association of the days of the seven-day week with the seven classical planets, probably dates to the Hellenistic period. Between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, the Roman Empire gradually replaced the eight day Roman nundinal cycle with the seven-day week. The astrological order of the days was explained by Vettius Valens and Dio Cassius (and Chaucer gave the same explanation in his Treatise on the Astrolabe). According to these authors, it was a principle of astrology that the heavenly bodies presided, in succession, over the hours of the day. The association of the weekdays with the respective deities is thus indirect, the days are named for the planets, which were in turn named for the deities.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church Saturdays are days on which the Theotokos (Mother of God) and All Saints are commemorated, The day is also a general day of prayer for the dead, because it was on a Saturday that Jesus lay dead in the tomb. The Octoechos contains hymns on these themes, arranged in an eight-week cycle, that are chanted on Saturdays throughout the year. At the end of services on Saturday, the dismissal begins with the words: "May Christ our True God, through the intercessions of his most-pure Mother, of the holy, glorious and right victorious Martyrs, of our reverend and God-bearing Fathers…". For the Orthodox, Saturday—with the sole exception of Holy Saturday–is never a strict fast day. When a Saturday falls during one of the fasting seasons (Great Lent, Nativity Fast, Apostles' Fast, Dormition Fast) the fasting rules are always lessened to an extent. The Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the Beheading of St. John the Baptist are normally observed as strict fast days, but if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the fast is lessened.
For Jews, Messianics and Seventh-day Adventists, the seventh day of the week, known as Shabbat (or Sabbath for SDA), stretches from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday and is the day of rest. Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches distinguish between Saturday (Sabbath) and the Lord's Day (Sunday). While other Protestant groups, such as SDA, hold that the Lord's Day is the Sabbath and not Sunday. From Scriptures, Jesus rested in the grave on the Sabbath day, which is the day after the day of preparation. In this way, Jesus rested as God did in the beginning during the creation. Quakers traditionally refer to Saturday as "Seventh Day", eschewing the "pagan" origin of the name. In Islamic countries, Fridays are considered as the last day of the week and are holidays along with Thursdays; Saturday is called Sabt (cognate to Sabbath) and it is the first day of the week in many Arabic countries.
In Scandinavian countries, Saturday is called lördag, "lørdag," or laurdag, the name being derived from the old word laugr/laug (hence Icelandic name Laugardagur), meaning bath, thus Lördag equates to bath-day. This is due to the Viking practice of bathing on Saturdays.
Today, Saturday is officially called Samstag in all German-speaking countries, but there it has two names in modern Standard German. Samstag is always used in Austria, Liechtenstein, and the German speaking part of Switzerland, and generally used in southern and western Germany. It derives from Old High German sambaztac, which itself derives from Greek Σάββατο, and this Greek word derives from Hebrew שבת (Shabbat). However, the current German word for Sabbath is Sabbat. The second name for Saturday in German is Sonnabend, which derives from Old High German sunnunaband, and is closely related to the Old English word sunnanæfen. It means literally "Sun eve", i.e., "The day before Sunday". Sonnabend is generally used in northern and eastern Germany, and was also the official name for Saturday in East Germany.
In the Westphalian dialects of Low Saxon, in East Frisian Low Saxon and in the Saterland Frisian language, Saturday is called Satertag, also akin to Dutch Zaterdag, which has the same linguistic roots as the English word Saturday. The origin of the Old English word Satur is obscure but thought to refer to a particular deity named Sætere who was venerated by the pre-Christian peoples of north-western Germany, some of whom were the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons. Sætere has been identified as either a god associated with the harvest of possible Slav origin, or alternately Sætere could be another name for Loki a complex deity associated with both good and evil.
In West Frisian there are also two words for Saturday. In Wood Frisian it is saterdei and in Clay Frisian it is sneon, derived from snjoen, a combination of Old Frisian sunne, meaning sun and joen, meaning eve.
All Slavic languages derive their name for Saturday from the name for Sabbath: (Czech/Slovak/Polish/Slovene: sobota; Russian: суббота subbota, Serbian/Ukrainian субота subota). A similar numbering trend is also exhibited by the Baltic languages.
Similarly, the Romance languages follow the Greek usage, so that their word for "Saturday" is also a variation on "Sabbath": the Italian is sabato, the French is samedi, the Spanish and Portuguese is sábado and the Romanian is sâmbătă.
The modern Maori name for Saturday, rahoroi, literally means "washing-day" - a vestige of early colonized life when Māori converts would set aside time on the Saturday to wash their whites for Church on Sunday. A common alternative Māori name for Saturday is the transliteration Hatarei.
The Chinese-based Korean word for Saturday is 토요일 (To-Yo-Il [meaning: Earth - day]) from the Chinese character 土 meaning Earth, or Ground but more significantly makes reference to 토성 (To-Sung 土星) which means Saturn.
In India, Saturday is Shanivar, based on Shani, the Vedic god manifested in the planet Saturn. In the Thai solar calendar of Thailand, the day is named from the Pali word for Saturn, and the color associated with Saturday is purple.
The international standard ISO 8601 sets Saturday as the sixth day of the week. The three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) regard Saturday as the seventh day of the week. As a result, many refused the ISO 8601 standards and continue to use Saturday as their seventh day.
This is concordant with the European pagan tradition, which named the days of the week after the seven Classical planets (in order Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn), naming the first day of the week for the Sun, perceived as most important, and moving to those perceived as lesser.
In astrology, Saturday is associated with the planet Saturn and symbolized by that planet's symbol .
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