Weird History

Here’s What Happened When The Soviets Changed The Calendar To Get Rid Of Weekends

On September 29, 1929, the USSR had its last Sunday for 11 years. In an effort to boost productivity and eliminate religion, Josef Stalin instituted a new Soviet calendar, known as the Soviet Eternal Calendar. Under the Soviet Union's continuous working week calendar, the USSR eliminated weekends. Instead, workers operated on a five-day week.

Each day, 80% of the workforce showed up to work while 20% stayed home. Workers received a color code corresponding to their day off. Husbands and wives often worked opposite schedules, meaning families lost their shared day of rest. The move was incredibly unpopular, with one letter in Pravda complaining, “What is there for us to do at home if our wives are in the factory, our children at school, and nobody can visit us?”

The five-day week wasn't the first change to the Russian calendar, but it had the greatest impact. The new Soviet Union calendar tore families apart and wiped out religious communities. Yet one group ignored Stalin and continued to follow a Soviet Union calendar with weekends - while still taking off the new state-sponsored revolutionary holidays.