Celebrating Saint Monday

(this is a re-post from my previous blog at deckchairdiaries.wordpress.com, but since I have moved blogs a few times since then and a lot of you are new readers, and this is the first time I have mentioned it on this new slow blog, I thought it would be easier to repost it here than keep linking back to it – I hope Google isn’t too upset with the repeated content…)

st_monday2

Saint Monday is the tradition of absenteeism on a Monday (Saint Tuesday is the less common extension of this to a Tuesday)

The tradition of taking Monday (unofficially) off has been common among craft workers since at least the seventeenth century. The prime supporters of Saint Monday were often the higher skilled and therefore better paid. High piece-rates could provide good wages for skilled men, but they more often elected to take a moderate wage and extensive leisure.

Saint Monday is often ascribed to the regimentation of working class life which occurred with industrialisation (before then people could pick and choose their own working hours) around the end of the seventeenth century, it waned to nothing during by the mid nineteenth century. Payday was typically Saturday, and therefore workers often had spare money on Monday and didn’t need to work, choosing more leisure time over higher incomes. Business owners in some industries had become accustomed to workers not arriving on Monday, and were willing to tolerate it, even putting on provisions for entertainment including rail journeys, plays and games such as cricket.

I am very great believer (and have been for years, even before I got into all this slow stuff) that in these days of the modern technology we have, it could finally live up to the promise of it being “a labour saving devise” and free us from some of our work, meaning a 4 day working week is totally possible! OK, it only gives you one extra day a week, but 1 day is better than nothing.

So, go celebrate St Monday, skive, promote the 4-day work week!

SC

For more detail on Saint Monday read:

  • Tom Hodgkinson, “In defence of skiving”, New Statesman, 30 August 2004 (also Tom’s books, including “How to be Idle” and “The Idlers Diary 2009”)
  • Douglas A. Reid, “The Decline of Saint Monday”, in: Essays in Social History: Volume 2