Monday gets a bad rap, but is it just because it’s the beginning of another long work week?
The English noun Monday derived sometime around 1000 AD from the Old English word, monedæi, which literally translates to ‘moon’s day’.
Because of its association with the moon and the moon’s tendency to wax and wane, many cultures view Monday as unlucky and even as a day when people literally lose their minds. The Latin word for moon, luna, is the root word for the English term, ‘lunacy’.
In the Netherlands, Monday is the most popular day to commit suicide, call in sick and, oddly enough, surf the web (probably because people are home pretending to be sick.)
According to the British Medical Journal, there is a reported 20% increase in heart attacks on Mondays as opposed to the other days of the week.
Monday is often referred to as ‘Blue Monday’. It is easy to assume this is because of people’s moods, but actually, back in the old days, Monday was traditionally set aside as laundry day, and ‘bluing’ was a technique used to keep white clothes from becoming gray and dingy.
Monday’s reputation is no stranger to the pop music scene. The Bangles felt pretty frazzled in their 1986 hit song ‘Manic Monday’; the Mamas and the Papas were ‘cryin’ all the time’ when Monday came around, in their 1966 hit ‘Monday, Monday’; and the Boomtown Rats sang about a homicidal teenager in their 1979 hit ‘I don’t like Mondays’.
Incidentally, this song is based on the true story of Brenda Spencer, who, in 1979 at the age of 17, opened fire on an elementary school in San Diego, killing two men, injuring 8 students and a police officer. Asked why she did it, she responded, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.”
In an odd counter approach, in July 2002, PriceWaterhouseCoopers Consulting branch announced that it would spend $110 million to re-name itself ‘Monday’ a move, according to the company, intended to denote fresh thinking and new beginnings, rather than the unwelcome start of the working week.