No matter what it is you do in life, the weekend is one thing that the entire human race looks forward to together. The glorious Saturday, characterised by daaru and bakchodi across cultures, that justifies us slogging away all week and the blessed Sunday after it that lets us take a breath before another week of slogging begins… These two days are a joy we all share – baccha, boodha, aurat, mard – for there isn’t much else in life that inspires the kind of spontaneous and unequivocal joy that weekends do.
But weekends weren’t always the two-day bucket of happiness they are now. There was a time when the adult world worked for 6, not 5, days of the week and didn’t have the luxury of a whole Sunday to recover from Saturday’s debauchery. And guess what, you may have hangovers, yes hangovers, to thank for the fact that we no longer live in that cruel, heartless world.
It all started with people partying ultra hard on Sunday and ending up too hungover to be able to come in to work on Monday.
In the 19th century during the Industrial Revolution, the work force in England had a 6-day workweek and started to use their only day off (Sabbath Day, as it was called then) to – and this is the technical term – get fucked the fuck up, instead of doing y’know, God-related things. The poor men and women found it harder and harder to not call in sick to work the next day, owing to their gargantuan hangovers.
The problem became so widespread that they even had a name for this magnificent custom of skipping work on Mondays to recover from the previous day’s festivities. It was ‘Saint Monday’.
Soon, factory managers offered their workers the compromise of a half-day off on Saturdays, in exchange for their assured presence on Monday.
This life-changing trade off started a norm where the work force’s time off went from one day to a day and a half, which soon become two whole days. And a trend that started in colonial England, soon took form around the world. Depending on the religious customs in the region, people everywhere started to implement the five-days-on and two-days-off routine for their week.
Which is why we can get shit-faced on a Saturday night and spend all of Sunday in bed feeling miserable, stuffing ourselves with junk food and questioning our life’s choices… Because we do not have to worry about work the next day. What a time to be alive!
Evolving over centuries of being influenced by religious practices, labour laws and cultural impact on leisure activities, ‘the workweek‘ has had a long journey in taking the shape it has.
And while intellectuals debated and tried out quite a few different week models over the ages, who would’ve known that the one we’d end up sticking to, would be thanks to our least favourite part of drinking – the ungodly hangover.
So the next time you’re half dead, feel like screaming curses at your damn hangover and kinda wish that its hangover wife and little hangover babies get sucked into a tandoor while it helplessly watches them burn… Remember that the ancestors of this very insufferable hangover are the reason you have a whole day to recover from your misery. Cheers.