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A Different Weekend

August 2, 2007 by  


By Sumayyah Meehan, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

It took me years to adjust to the weekend in Kuwait being Thursday and Friday. Growing up in the US, the weekend was always on Saturday and Sunday. After moving to Kuwait several years ago I was stunned when I learned that what I had always considered to be the weekend were working days in Kuwait. It was difficult to wrap my mind around it. I mean, weren’t weekends set in stone? Every calendar I had ever purchased clearly stated that the weekend was Saturday and Sunday. So, what was wrong with Kuwait?

After converting to Islam, I finally understood the reason why Thursday and Friday was the weekend. It was in accordance with the Islamic calendar since Thursday is a recommended (according to the Sunnah) fasting day and Thursday night is considered to be part of Friday and the Islamic holy day is Friday itself. It took me a long time to get use to the new weekend. But slowly I did and I fell in love with it! It always was strange sending my children to school on Saturday and Sunday. My family back in the US complained about it as well. But Thursday and Friday really fit into my lifestyle.

I work hard all week. Whether I am cooking, cleaning, or working on my latest writing deadline I always have my hands full. But Thursday is my one-day that I declare I will not do any work or cook a single thing. Thursday is my day off to do things for me like try out a new facemask or lay around watching ‘Huda’, the Islamic TV station. And we always order takeout on Thursday much to the delight of my kids.

Friday is the day in which I try to increase my acts of worship since everything counts double and it is the day we normally have a home full of guests. It is a special time to reflect on the week and spend time together as a family. We often will do some shopping in the evening or go to a nearby beach to sit and watch the waves.

All of that is about to change. Unfortunately the Kuwaiti Cabinet has decided to change the weekend from the traditional Thursday/Friday to Friday/Saturday. The decision was made months ago but the public, as well as several MP’s, have really opposed it. The decision has already been set back twice. It was confirmed that the new weekend would start this September. But it was recently put on hold again until further studies are conducted. However, the local Kuwaiti grapevine says it will definitely go through. The reason being financial of course because Kuwait actually loses 2.5 days of trading since Thursdays are half-days of work and Friday/Saturday are non-banking days. The new weekend will give Kuwait a full extra day, Thursday, to trade and will make Kuwait more attractive to its’ Western counterparts. And let’s not forget about competition in the GCC. Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates both changed to the new weekend last year.

So, what am I to do? It took me years to get used to the weekend in Kuwait and now it seems that I will have to get use to another one. And I just don’t want to do it. It just seems so tragic that now I will have to wake up at 6 am every Thursday, which is supposed to be the one-day just for me! Thankfully Friday is the same but not sending to the kids to school on Saturday is going to be especially hard. Saturday is the day I put my home back together after not doing any work on Thursday and from the fallout left behind from my guests (and their little ones) on Friday. Now I guess I will have to wait until school starts on Sunday to clean! It does not seem fair. I really hope that the public uproar will continue and the cabinet will nix this idea in the bud. It is highly unlikely, but a girl can dream can’t she?

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