One of the ways that I know that I have let the stress of the school year finally behind and I am able to really enjoy myself is when I look over at somebody and ask what day of the week it is. It usually takes a couple of weeks before this happens, and it is a nice feeling to not be a slave to time. I know that I will have to get back to watching that calendar and clock again, but the time being I am not going to worry about it.
While traveling through Europe, there was one day that always let me know that it had come around, Sunday. It is so dramatically different than any other day of the week, and not because they ring the church bells more often. The whole continent seems to take things slower that day. The streets take a little longer to get crowded. Not all of the restaurants are open, and if you find a store that is open, you should consider yourself lucky. It is a day that Europeans know is for something greater.
Some might say that this is because they are all very religious and they are taking Sunday easy as a sign of showing respect to God, and I don’t think that is necessarily accurate. First off, despite the hundreds of cathedrals that are out there, the number of people who claim to be religious is steadily declining in most countries. Granted, I just came from Spain which still holds a strong Catholic contingency, it was still evident that people are just not that religious anymore. I think there is something greater going on here.
I could be wrong, but my sense is that Europeans have a strong sense of family and it is really important to them. You can see this when I compared the interactions between various families as I toured many of the larger site of the country. And even though, many of the teenagers were still salty towards their parents, but the European ones would warm up to their parents quicker than ones that were obviously from a different part of the world. I think that bonding comes from the fact that Europeans have designated one day of the week to family, Sunday. I don’t know if this is the reason why things are all closed down on Sundays, or because things have closed down on Sundays that families come together this day because of this reason. Either way, it is evident that families get together on Sundays.
Now, I am not saying that Americans do not do the same thing, but there is a different feeling on Sundays in America than there is in Europe. This might be because the stores are still opened and people can still get some stuff done in their busy lives on this day. We are not forced to put that stuff aside so we can pay attention to something else. But you do see from time to time families getting together to share a moment together. It is a great experience when it happens, and I was lucky enough on my fourth Sunday on my trip around the world to get together with my family for one of these moments. Not only was I able to see my brothers and sister, and my parents all together one more time, it was also great to slow down and just appreciate the things I have been blessed with.