I am using the ChineseSkill app to learn Chinese and I learned that 'Sunday' in Chinese is 星期天 (xīngqītiān). However, sometimes on the internet I see 星期日 (xīngqīrì).
Are both correct? Why is there such a variation in usage?
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星期日 should be correct.
The concept of a week was introduced from the west, the name of days came from the Sun, the Moon and the stars. When they were introduced to China, only Sunday was preserved, the other days were renamed from 1 to 6, so they became
星期日 (Sun -> 日),
But in Chinese,
日 could be used for the meaning of
day both. So the people started to say
星期天 instead of
星期日, and the original meaning (i.e.
Sun) was lost, which would be a "misuse".
星期天 are both correct. Basically in a formal context, such as in news,
星期日 is used more than
In my believe, 星期天 originates from 禮拜天 which literally means worship day. In christian view, Sunday is dedicated to worshiping God and because the week system is introduced from Western, therefore calling it "worship day" is correct and still being used in modern days. The meaning, however, is lost (this reminds me of Christmas being replaced by Xmas somehow).
星期日 is much better because it carries over a bit of history. it has to do with how Chinese defined the 7 days weeks (source: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%98%9F%E6%9C%9F) 星期天 doesn't make much sense if you try to analyze the phrase's formation, its much more colloquial.