When we moved to Saudi in 2011, one of the fundamental adjustments we needed to make was shifting the rhythm of the week. When we lived in the US and the UK, the weekend was always Saturday and Sunday. In Saudi however, the weekend is observed on Thursday and Friday. This constantly leads to confusion and even after two years of living here, I often say “Saturday” when what I really mean is “Thursday”. In fact, Thursday is now referred to in my house as “fake saturday”. It’s just really hard to get used to a different weekend.
Then, 7 days ago, the Saudi Government announced that the weekend would change throughout the kingdom – and that the change would happen this week! So, with less than a week notice, we are adjusting from a Thursday/Friday weekend to a Friday/Saturday weekend. The government has taken this action to appease businesses who will now have 4 working days in common with the west and all 5 working days in common with most of the other Arab countries. I honestly believe it’s a really practical decision.
We had heard rumors that the government was investigating the change of the weekend and knew that it had been recommended to the government. But, I sort of assumed that a change would happen in a few years. I remember when the digital switchover of television finally happened in the UK. People were given 13 years to plan for this change – and it was only just a change in TV! So, when it was announced that the change in the weekend would happen in less than a week, it was honestly a bit of a shock!
I’m sure this is causing a lot of confusion and changes for quite a few people working in the Kingdom. But, thankfully for us, it means that we get an unexpected 3-day weekend, so we’re rising to the occasion and enjoying the extra time together as a family.
Now… we’ll see how long it takes me to remember what day of the week it is! That could take years :-)