You probably know by now that the UK still holds many of its traditions. One such tradition is Sunday being a day of rest.

If you’re from a country where stores are open every day of the week, it might seem strange that shops are closed on Sundays in London or other areas of the UK. If you do find a shop open, it probably closes early.

There’s actually a long history behind this decision. Read on to find out more!

Why do shops close early on Sundays?

Laws dictate that large retail stores in the UK can only open for a maximum of 6 hours between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm. As a result, most big shops in the UK are open from 11 am to 5 pm, with some choosing to open at 10 am and close at 4 pm.

If you’re looking for a straightforward answer to why shops are closed on Sundays, it’s usually because of religious reasons (Sunday laws). Many countries don’t want to break from their religious customs.

Sunday laws can also be helpful in protecting workers and employees from burnout. Working 7 days a week with long hours is just not sustainable. Without the Sunday laws, shop employees could be overworked and feel pressured to work long hours into the weekend.

Why do shops close early on Sundays in London?

Early shop closures aren’t just a London thing. In fact, Sunday laws have been a thing for hundreds of years. Sunday laws are designed to influence how medium and large shops across the country can operate on a Sunday. 

They have actually been around in some form or another since the Middle Ages. Back then, they were primarily enforced with the Sabbath in mind – the day in which God was said to have rested after completing the creation.

But the idea of Sunday has evolved over time. As societies move closer to 24/7 lifestyles, the idea of stores being closed on Sunday can be mind-boggling to some.

Again, it’s likely a mixture of religious and health reasons. Many societies don’t want to break from religious traditions, and governments want to prevent employees from being overworked with long weekend hours.

Why is Sunday special in certain cultures?

Sunday is considered special for many cultures because it marks the end of a week-long work period and signals time for some much-deserved rest and relaxation. 

The belief that Sunday should be reserved for rest has been around since ancient times. Monks and those who spent their days in prayer would typically attend service at a church on Sunday.

Today, Sunday is still observed as a day of worship. It’s also a day to spend with family and friends. Many go out to brunch or dinner. Others will entertain friends at their homes, go on hiking adventures or walk their dogs. Sundays don’t have to be boring!

This means that many people don’t want to spend their leisure time shopping on a Sunday. This is also the case for public holidays, where people are likely to be busy with family or observing their religions.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, Sunday laws come down to both the government and religion and their influence on society.

Religious traditions are tough to break away from, and looking after employees and their wellbeing is a top priority for governments and business owners across the world.

Do you find that your Sundays are boring? Check out some of our other blogs!

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