So what makes Sunday so special. Well for centuries it was the only day of rest for our ancestors. It was the day of worship but had the added advantage that the rest of the day was yours too. It is difficult to pinpoint when that changed. I suppose that the world grew increasingly secular, with more people paying lip service to religion as time went on. Still, as a child, Sunday was treated as a special day for much the same reason. Sunday night, for instance, included in it’s TV schedule ‘Songs of praise’ (A program of Hymns and religious texts broadcast from a different church each week.) which became, for many, a valid alternative to going to church.
So Sunday was the day of rest. I can only speak from my experience, so yours may have been quite different, but us children were ordered to show respect to those who used their one day off every week to get a lay in. No one did anything noisy till lunchtime out of respect for neighbours. The roads were almost deserted.
The Sunday Roast was an unchanging tradition in the Bot family. A joint of Beef or Lamb, occasionally Pork, Yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes and vegetables in a thick gravy. Delicious and followed by a fruit pie with custard.
After lunch one of several options was available. Visiting relatives was popular. A visit to a park was likewise enjoyable. A trip over to (In our case.) the attractions of Sheerness was a rare treat. This was our nearest seaside town. I have mentioned visiting cemeteries and this was another Sunday activity. For us kids Sunday was either exciting or really boring depending on the choice of activity. Sunday was bath night too.
So is Sunday really any different now? As an atheist going to church is of no importance to me but many others have no religious component to their Sunday now. Ironically, people have rejected the reason why Sunday was a day of rest but refuse to give up the one day a week they can truly call their own, and who can blame them.
All the things previously mentioned are still valid as Sunday activities. Added to them are visits to the local Shopping centres, superstores and leisure facilities. The barbecue is always popular on a Sunday afternoon. For Sunday mornings football in the park is the thing. Presumably, knowing that your son is going to be the next football hero, you will see this as a sacred duty.
The respect for neighbours seems to have gone out off the window. We have been awoken for the past few Sundays by slamming doors and an extremely vocal dog. Children play from 7 or 8 in the morning. The roads get busy from about 9 onwards.
For me, it was the changes allowing Sunday opening which really changed the traditional Sunday. It became like a normal day when you could go to a shop 7 days a week, it lost some of it’s charm. It also meant that many had to work on Sundays so even the ‘Day of rest’ became a privilege, not a right.
So how can I sum up the modern Sunday. Well we know that the high point, the Sunday roast is not good for us and many no longer observe the tradition. Churchgoing has become the preserve of the few not the many and the new Church is the superstore or football practice (I loathe bloody football.). Visiting various shops is an enjoyable activity so I am good with that. The idea of Sunday as a day of peace and quiet is long gone
But still various non retail businesses observe Sunday closing so that is good and many also keep up the tradition the tradition of visiting family.
So is Sunday still special? Well yes, in certain respects, but it really depends on what you do with it. Something of it’s uniqueness is gone but if our neighbours and friends still look forward to it then so be it. Well, except for the idiot on an ancient, noisy and smelly quad bike driving up and down pumping fumes through our open window. That is definitely one activity we could do without.