At first, Monday used to be the second day of the week. In the biblical tradition, the first day of the week was Sunday. Even though most of us associate Sunday with the blissful rest, the Jews used to rest on Sabbath – the last day of their week, which we now know as Saturday. Christians, however, have started to perceive Sunday as the most important day of the week, and finally a Synod of Laodicea (c. 381) encouraged all Christians to observe a weekly day of worship on Sunday and not to work on that day. In fact, Sunday was then moved to the last position in the week, which has established Monday as the first day. This change has been officially approved by International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Monday has a different name in various languages, but in all of them it has a special meaning. The most popular one is connected with the Babylonian, and later Roman tradition of naming the days after the planets of Hellenistic astrology. As an English name indicates, Monday was associated with the moon. Other languages suggest the same etymology – in German: “Montag”; in French: “lundi”; in Italian: “lunedi”. All of these names could be translated as the “day of the moon”. Slavic languages, however, have decided to choose a different name, that would not be connected with the moon. In Polish (“poniedziałek”), Czech (“pondělí”), Russian (“понедельник; ponedel’nik”) or Slovak (“pondelok”) Monday means simply “the day after Sunday”.
Monday in Modern Culture
Monday is often associated with melancholy, sadness, or even depression. Some people have even established the third Monday of January as the most depressing day of the year and named it “Blue Monday”. It is not only because of the fact that it is the beginning of the week. There are a few other elements, such as a short day, little sunlight, or bitterness caused by failed new year’s promises, that make the day so heart-sickening. Many popular songs also refer to Monday in a similar tone. A good example could be The Bangles’ “Manic Monday”; The Carpenters’ “Rainy Days and Mondays”; or The Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays” - the title of which is actually the killer’s answer to the question about the motivations for the shooting spree in America. Many TV shows or cabarets also depict Monday as the reason of all human failures. It has been proved that most employees are less productive on Monday than on any other day of the week, and almost half of them is late to work. An average person also moans much more on Monday than on Tuesday or Wednesday. Sadly, Monday is also considered to be “suicide day” and “heart attack day”.
There are, however, some Mondays in the history that are very important. Probably the most prominent Monday for most Christians is Easter Monday, which is an official holiday in many countries. There is also one Monday in the year that many shopping lovers await – Cyber Monday, an equivalent of Black Friday, the biggest shopping holiday in the United States. For the Polish Catholics, October 16, 1978, was a very special Monday – the day when Karol Wojtyła became Pope John Paul II. The Red Cross organization was also established on Monday, October 26, 1863. In the United States, many Mondays are holiday days, as it was appointed by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, so the Americans can often enjoy a long weekend.
Did you know?
There was a custom in Ancient Britain to give girls born on Mondays name Mona – the Old English word for Moon.