I have seen many different traditions between the peoples of those countries and at the same time, I found there are a lot of common things they share in between. The most common thing that I could observe in the countries I visited is that some professions would have a specific day in the week as a weekend other than the normal weekend of Saturdays and Sundays.
The core reason why Italian stores are closed on Monday
Another reason behind the scene is that many local bakeries are small businesses and their owners wouldn't have many of the blue-collar staff to operate on Mondays when they are off in their hometown villages spending their weekends with their families. Therefore, it has become a norm or some kind of a tradition for bakeries to simply close down on Mondays! In other words, having shift rotation is not possible when there is no enough staff. Making this shift rotation to work seven by seven is too difficult for those business owners to arrange, especially when it increases the cost with no expected revenue to come by.
In conclusion, I would say that majority of restaurants in most of the countries I visited all over the world would have a specific day in a week the day off not only as a tradition but also so as a saving for the sake of having less cost versus the revenue they expect, the common day that they hit as a day off is usually Monday.
My story in Italy
Before I tell you my story with restaurants in Italy, let me ask you; have you ever visited Italy? Have you tried to roam on foot in the streets of Rome or Milano to taste their local Pasta and pizza? If you did not, I am sure this article is useful for you if you are planning to!
Italy is a great place to spend your vacation in, enjoying the sunny weather in summer in the historic streets, or simply by dropping by any restaurant. Eating food is one of the most enjoyable pleasures that you should have in Italy. If you go to Italy, you will find a lot of places and restaurants everywhere in this beautiful country. However, it will be useful to consider that eating places are usually closed on a certain day in the week, and can imagine that this day is Monday!
I will tell you a quick story; when I have been to Italy last summer I went down from my hotel looking for a local pizza restaurant. I strolled around the neighborhood looking for one but I couldn't find any nearby in the neighborhood. I had to stop a taxi and travel 35 miles away from the city center until I could find a small all restaurant that could serve me the Italian local pizza that I was longing for. To my bad luck, it was my 1st day in Italy that I arrived at and it was a Monday that I unpacked my luggage at the hotel on.
I stayed in Italy for 8 days before I went back to my office in NY, but I had not had the chance to get the pasta I always heard about and it was almost my last day to find a reputable resultant serving Italian Pasta. And again, to my luck, it was on the second Monday in Italy I have been unlucky again to forget that there is no pasta restaurant available open in the neighborhood. Yet, my Italian friend Luca could guide me to a fantastic restaurant and gave me a drive with his Ferrari to the outskirts of Milano. I ensure the pasta with the red wine and mushroom that day that I cannot forget the taste of it on my tough taste buds till now.
Bakeries are closed too, on Mondays!
Not only are restaurants closed on Monday in Italy and other countries in Europe but it is also worth mentioning that bakeries and other food services are typically closed on Mondays. The reason behind this is simple economics! Restaurants and other small businesses working on food processing have Monday as their slowest business day in the week. People normally work all week from Monday to Friday and have rest and enjoy the time on Saturday and Sunday. Italians spend all their weekends in having fun, going out to restaurants and pubs to start a new week on Monday so basically is the busiest day of the week. This encourages the business owners to give their weekly days off on Monday as it would be the least in walk-ins and revenues.
Weekends in different nations
In Egypt barbers get Monday as a day off and when I asked if they have a reason for this they could not even give me a solid answer except for the fact that they were born to see this tradition. In China, some fish restaurants don't operate on Monday mainly because fishmongers don't bring fresh fish on Monday.
I love traveling that I save every penny every year to see a new place on the other side of the world. I have gone to many countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. I have gone to countries like Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa, Italy, Greece, France, the United Kingdom, and many others.
Italy though is a great country to visit. But I have learned that when I come back to it, I have to make sure I do look for neither a bakery nor a restaurant on Mondays. They are almost all closed that day. When I found this fact at the beginning I thought it would be because they do not have fresh food to serve to the customers, but in reality also because Monday is usually the busiest day in the week!