We all hate Mondays, but hundreds of years ago it was the best day of the week
If you work a full-time job, you'll savour the weekend, but it wasn't always a given. This is how 'Saint Monday' hangovers, football and the hot Australian climate helped bring us the best days of the week.
Print text onlyPrintCancelThere are many ways to spend a weekend — running errands, ferrying children to sport, catching up with friends or simply slowing down a bit.But the weekend wasn't always a given.Monday was the original, albeit unofficial, day off, and the push for the weekend began with Saturday afternoon.
The two-day weekend we now enjoy was hard won over the course of almost a century — but some historians say we could be witnessing its erosion.Saint MondayIn the 1800s a six-day work week was common, and people worked hard with few breaks.(Getty Images: Hulton Archive
)Brad Beaven, a professor of social and cultural history at the University of Portsmouth, says a six-day work week was common in Britain in the 1800s."[A cobbler] would work extensively hard in the week with very few breaks and then deliver his produce by Saturday evening, and that point, he'd be paid," he
.With money in pockets and church on Sunday, the revelries would begin."From Saturday, there would be a huge amount of drinking and leisure activities through the Sunday, but they would often extend to the Monday, where people recover," Professor Beaven says.
"With people recovering, there was no work done. That was often called, in popular culture, Saint Monday."Saint Monday became an unofficial holiday, invented to excuse absenteeism."Employers, manufacturers, began to question whether that was a practical way of working," Professor Beaven explains.
Unions were also campaigning for the half-day holiday. Low-paid factory workers had agreed to trade a day's wage for time off.()Philanthropists and religious leaders were also sick of Saint Monday.They pushed for 'rational recreation', free time for sober, controlled activities that would keep the urban working class away from ale houses.
"That was the plan. It wasn't successful, as you can imagine," Professor Bevan says.Unions were also at the table, campaigning for regular hours and an official half-day off.The football effectFootball signalled the start of the weekend in Britain, which began on Saturday afternoon.
(Getty: William Heysmann Overend, 19th Century)Commercial leisure industries also emerged for a slice of the action."The football craze of the 1890s really confirmed Saturday afternoon as the holiday that started the weekend," Professor Beaven explains.
Transport was made cheaper so passengers could take trips to the seaside or the football match.The commercial leisure industry spread throughout Britain and across Europe.By the late 19th century, Saturday afternoon was considered the start of the weekend. Some families spent it at the seaside.Read more: ABC News »
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We will be working 7 days soon. Personally,... I quite like monday. 2020 has been all Mondays.😷😷😷😷😷☹️☹️☹️