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?

  • 5
    In Cantonese, 星期日 seems significantly more common. However, I was only ever taught to use 星期天 in Mandarin (which I learned formally).
    – user5714
    Oct 19 '15 at 3:08
  • 星期日 when written, 星期天 when spoken
    – Steve Kuo
    Oct 20 '15 at 4:47
  • 1
    星期 is pronounced xīngqī and not xīngqí (mdbg.net/chindict/…). Seems like Google Translate is giving xīngqí for some reason.
    – MHG
    Oct 20 '15 at 9:56
  • The LINE Dict shows xīngqī too. Thank you for help. I will change the original question.
    – Leonel.L
    Oct 20 '15 at 10:04
  • xīngqí is Taiwan pronunciation
    – Curiosity
    Apr 22 at 14:28

In theory, 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), 星期一 ... 星期六.

But in Chinese, and 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".

Nowadays 星期日 and 星期天 are both correct. Basically in a formal context, such as in news, 星期日 is used more than 星期天.


  • "When they were introduced to China, only Sunday was preserved" - I think this simplification must have happened later, because if we look at the weekdays in Japanese they still use the Sun, the Moon, and the five Chinese elements. This most likely came from China. The weekdays are named 月火水木金土日, starting with Monday - Moon day. (Also note the different characters used, x曜日 vs 星期x.)
    – Toerndev
    Oct 20 '15 at 10:03

“星期日” is used in official, "星期天" is more used in daily conversation.


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).

  • 礼拜天 is rarely used on the mainland. I agree that the original meaning of Yule/Midwinter has been a bit lost to christianization efforts.
    – user4452
    Oct 20 '15 at 5:13

星期天, 星期日, 周日, 礼拜天 they are all Sunday.

  • @jf328 thank you for the criticism. I will leave detailed comments in future. My consideration for this answer was as follows: 1) as you've mentioned, this is not a direct answer to OP's questions "Are both correct? Why is there such a variation in usage" but additional information, which is commonly supposed to be a comment. 2) Before this answer, the "additional information" 周日 and 礼拜天 had already been mentioned in user6065's comment. Thus, I deemed this answer would better be a comment.
    – Stan
    Oct 26 '15 at 10:06
  • 1
    @phnix this may be a good summary for learning :) while I think for later answers, it would be better to give early answers the credit if you quote/repeat their viewpoints, and then make the answer as thorough as possible. Above all, don't post a one-line answer, because it will be automatically deemed as of low quality by SE.
    – Stan
    Oct 26 '15 at 10:16

星期日 is preferred in formal situations, but 星期天 and 周日 are more often used in daily situations.

By the way, should be pronounced as , not .

  • really amazing how such a simple question whose answer is readily available on the www can garner so many points,令人觉得不可思议的是这样一个简单的现成的答案都在互联网上的问题 ,可以得到这么多分
    – user6065
    Oct 19 '15 at 23:39
  • is the correct pronunciation in 國語, while is correct in 普通話. I think this is analogous to skedule vs shedule (schedule) for US vs UK English.
    – DaoWen
    Oct 20 '15 at 1:45

both of them is correct.i am chinese,we usuallay use xingqitian.


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.


Both are correct, 星期日 is more formal, and 星期天 is more colloquial.

  • 2 more possibilities:周日、礼拜天(Christian usage?)
    – user6065
    Oct 19 '15 at 3:08

both are understanding 星期天 or 星期日 both ref to sunday, nothing different, this is command sense for Chinese in world wide, no worry dude, you can use both of it

  • Welcome to Chinese.SE. When you agree with some other answer(s) and you don't have anything new to add, you can just click the up-vote button on the left of an answer :)
    – Stan
    Oct 20 '15 at 4:25

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