What’s Left of Sunday?

Burnished Gold
Burnished Gold

Sunday was always a ‘special’ day in our house.  Sunday lunch with all the trimmings was an absolute institution. After the big wash-up, Father would turn to Mother and ask: What’s your preference? This meant, where did she want to go for the family afternoon drive and long walk.

As I was walking around the block with Stan this morning, I found myself thinking of how Sundays have changed in our family and, I think, more generally.

There was a stage way back in my very early youth when Mass-going was part of the agenda but that went when I, the youngest, ‘lost religion,’ and it has never again been a part of our Sundays.

For us anyway, the Sunday lunch has been totally obliterated in spite of my efforts to keep it going. The bits that I still adhere to are keeping Sunday shopping and stuff like washing clothes to an absolute minimum.

Summer Sundays, for hubby and son  continue to involve going to see Inter-County Hurling matches. (By the way, Waterford had a great victory over Dublin today to reach the All-Ireland Semi-Final.)

But, overall it’s like Sundays, as we knew them, are no longer. Maybe, every day has changed but somehow it seems that Sunday’s changes stand out more than all the rest.

How are YOU fixed about Sundays? Is there continuity or change? Is it for the better or worse? 


Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

26 thoughts on “What’s Left of Sunday?”

  1. Sundays are now unrecognisable! Mass, Dinner, washing up then walk just like yours … we never had a car and neither mum or dad smoked! ….Life is so different now, no Mass, dinner in the evening unless we have guests. Everything changes………

  2. Like you, religion is not and never will be part of my Sundays. My Sunday is a mosaic which every Sunday is whatever takes the whimsy that day. Going for a walk in the woods or going to one of my seven favorite beaches. Simply going to Antique shops or having friends over for dinner or simply taking that whimsy card in the back pocket and thinking of something new to do. Oh yes! it is a day of sleeping in as well.

    1. Oh, I came upon the burnished gold yesterday when out at a woodland garden near here. They are the needles of a rather exotic looking tree (and remind me of the colour of my late mother’s hair.)

  3. I liked Sunday as a child. I remember especially evening mass on Sundays. I didn’t have a theological bull’s notion of what it meant but I was keenly aware of the deep sense of community that permeated the occasion. Nowadays, I reflect that Sunday religious services can have what someone mused as a vertical and horizontal aspect: we concentrate upwards to God and outwards and across to our neighbour. But the occasions are sparsely populated.
    Sundays have caved under secular pressures and the cathedrals and churches we adore in now are still made of glass and marble but watched over by a god called Mammon.

    1. John, thanks for such a beautifully worded comment.
      That sense of community you talk about seems to prevail still in more rural areas. I was at a funeral (removal) recently out the country and was stunned at how the community was out in force. Such a difference to cities, especially.
      Must say, I never remember evening mass on Sundays. Maybe they didn’t have that in The Pale!

  4. Like you going to mass is off my things to do on Sunday…we start our day with a good breakfast, and I usually watch the tv show Sunday Morning it’s very entertaining. I read the Sunday paper, and check my e-mails. I start dinner around 12:00 p.m. as we eat around 3 or 4 p.m. our big meal of the day..later on it’s sandwiches or pizza if one is hungry. I make two pots of coffee one in the a.m. and one in the p.m…sometimes we go for a ride or just enjoy sitting on the porch. We don’t do much visiting as each family seems to be doing their own thing. Sometimes my youngest daughter and our grandaughter will visit for a few hours. So it’s sort of a hum-drum day..and I also do some knitting or reading.

  5. When I was young, my Sundays were very similar to yours Jean – sometimes church, family dinner around 1 pm, then a drive in the countryside with Mum and Dad. Sometimes a visit to Nan’s = my mother’s mother and sometimes we would take her with us for a drive. We would go to Peggy’s Cove or up the valley of Nova Scotia. Sometimes we would stop for supper if the drive got long or if we were going to see something special like the apple blossom festival. In the fall we would head down towards Cape Breton to see the leaves change color – very beautiful.

    When I was married, the kids’ activities took up most Sundays – in winter the hockey practice started at 6 am. There were practices, tournaments, games, etc. Then there would be friends’ birthday parties, shopping, homework, projects, etc. We ate on the run and fell into bed exhausted on Sunday night.

    These days, Sundays are very relaxing – no expectations, so I read and write and eat when I want. I even squeeze a nap or two in there. 😀

  6. What a beautiful photo. We try to keep Sunday somewhat special. We’re not a religious family so that’s never been on the agenda but when in season we always go to the farmer’s market and then have lunch, either just the two of us, or -usually every other week- with family. And then, weather permitting, a long walk, gardening (inevitably some sporting event on the tele).

  7. Oh God, Sundays in the Birmingham suburbs (1953 – 77) were a bore-fest. We were Mass-goers, until I got old enough to skip it. There was maybe an outing on the bus with Mum when I was younger, but otherwise it was a long, blank day, shops all shut. Then later at least I could join soccer and cricket teams which improved matters no end.

  8. Sundays were spent at my grandmother’s when I was very young – all the family would come for dinner and tea. Later, when she’d died, my parents and my aunt and uncle took it in turns to continue the tradition, but eventually it fell away. Sundays now are good because it’s the weekend and we can take the dog for a long walk or do whatever we please – though it is ironing day, which isn’t so great. I always disliked Sundays because it was work the next day, but now I’m off on Mondays it’s better! I do think it’s sad that there isn’t a day left that we can slow down and all relax as a community, though I’m not so sure I’d want it to be the same as it used to be.

    1. Hi Andrea, yes it would be good to have a ‘slow down/relax as a community day’ in the week. Maybe one will evolve with the best of what’s gone and some creative insights into how it could be achieved in the sort of world we have now.

  9. The only constant of Sundays is attending Mass, then each every Sunday is unlike, walking around through a classic cars expo, having lunch with family and swimming in the lake in a hot after-noon. Must I say, the perfect Sunday?

  10. I’m glad to see someone already asked (and you answered) the question about the burnished gold – I thought it was hair at first! I enjoyed reading all the variations on “Sunday” – I’m retired now but still consider it a day off, at least until evening, when I try to get started on my projects for the week.

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