Saint Monday
Saint Monday is the tradition of absenteeism
Absenteeism is a habitual pattern of absence from a duty or obligation. Traditionally, absenteeism has been viewed as an indicator of poor individual performance, as well as a breach of an implicit contract between employee and employer; it was seen as a management problem, and framed in economic...

 on a Monday
Monday is the day of the week between Sunday and Tuesday. According to international standard ISO 8601 it is the first day of the work week. According to the Islamic and Hebrew calendars, Sunday is the first day of the week...

. Saint Tuesday is the less common extension of this to a Tuesday.

The tradition of taking Monday off has been common among craft workers since at least the seventeenth century.

In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

 refers to the practice, saying of his youthful employment in a London printing house, "My constant attendance (I never making a St. Monday) recommended me to the master".

Later writers often ascribed Saint Monday to the regimentation of working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

 life which occurred with industrialisation
Industrialization is the process of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society into an industrial one...

. Pay day was typically Saturday, and therefore workers often had spare money on Monday. Business owners in some industries had become accustomed to workers not arriving on Monday, and were willing to tolerate it. Food would commonly be left over from the weekend, thus workers did not need to visit the works canteen, and since many workers were taking the day off, there was often company to be had.

The tradition declined during the nineteenth century, but the provision of entertainments, such as railway excursions, was initially common on Saturday and Monday, and it was not until the middle of the century that workers were able to enjoy a weekend
The workweek and weekend are those complementary parts of the week devoted to labour and rest respectively. The legal working week , or workweek , is the part of the seven-day week devoted to labor. In most Western countries it is Monday to Friday. The weekend comprises the two traditionally...

. In part, the decline can be attributed to the adoption of half-day working on Saturdays, which legitimated leisure time for workers.

Saint Monday remained in place longest among the better-off workers, including the self-employed who retained some say in their hours and were not economically compelled to work long hours.

Cultural References

An 18th century folk song from Sheffield, England, "The Jovial Cutler", portrays a craftsman enjoying a lazy Saint Monday, much to the dismay of his wife:

"Brother workmen, cease your labour,

Lay your files and hammers by.

Listen while a brother neighbour

Sings a cutler's
Cutlery refers to any hand implement used in preparing, serving, and especially eating food in the Western world. It is more usually known as silverware or flatware in the United States, where cutlery can have the more specific meaning of knives and other cutting instruments. This is probably the...


How upon a good Saint Monday,

Sitting by the smithy
A blacksmith is a person who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal; that is, by using tools to hammer, bend, and cut...


We tell what's been done o't Sunday,

And in cheerful mirth conspire."

Soon I hear the trap-door rise up,

On the ladder stands my wife:

"Damn thee, Jack, I'll dust thy eyes up,

Thou leads a plaguy drunken life;

Here thou sits instead of working

Wi' thy pitcher on thy knee;

Curse thee, thou'd be always lurking

And I may slave myself for thee."

"Ah, the bright, fat, idle devil

Now I see thy goings on,

Here thou sits all day to revel

Ne'er a stroke o' work thou'st done.

See thee, look what stays
A corset is a garment worn to hold and shape the torso into a desired shape for aesthetic or medical purposes...

 I've gotten,

See thee, what a pair o' shoes;

Gown and petticoat
A petticoat or underskirt is an article of clothing for women; specifically an undergarment to be worn under a skirt or a dress. The petticoat is a separate garment hanging from the waist ....

 half rotten,

Ne'er a whole stitch in my hose
Hosiery, also referred to as legwear, describes garments worn directly on the feet and legs. The term originated as the collective term for products of which a maker or seller is termed a hosier; and those products are also known generically as hose...


"Pray thee, look here, all the forenoon

Thou's wasted with thy idle way;

When does t'a mean to get thy sours done?

Thy mester
Master craftsman
A master craftsman or master tradesman was a member of a guild. In the European guild system, only masters were allowed to be members of the guild....

 wants 'em in to-day.

Thou knows I hate to broil and quarrel,

But I've neither soap nor tea;

Od burn thee, Jack, forsake thy barrel
A barrel or cask is a hollow cylindrical container, traditionally made of vertical wooden staves and bound by wooden or metal hoops. Traditionally, the barrel was a standard size of measure referring to a set capacity or weight of a given commodity. A small barrel is called a keg.For example, a...


Or nevermore thou'st lie wi' me."

Magpie Lane
Magpie Lane
Magpie Lane is an English folk group, based in Oxford, England.The musicians of Magpie Lane first came together in the winter of 1992–93 to record The Oxford Ramble, a collection of songs and tunes from, or about, Oxfordshire. Although originally conceived as a one-off recording project, the band...

 recorded a version of "The Jovial Cutler" on their album Six For Gold.

Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg
Stephen William Bragg , better known as Billy Bragg, is an English alternative rock musician and left-wing activist. His music blends elements of folk music, punk rock and protest songs, and his lyrics mostly deal with political or romantic themes...

 wrote and recorded a song entitled "St. Monday" on his album England, Half English, which was also released as a double a-side along with the album's title track.

Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas
Mark Clifford Thomas is a left-wing English comedian, presenter, political activist and reporter from south London. He first became known as a guest comic on the BBC Radio 1 comedy show The Mary Whitehouse Experience in the late 1980s. He is best known for political stunts on his show, The Mark...

 supported a call for a return of Saint Monday during an episode of Mark Thomas: The Manifesto.

See also

  • Blue Monday
  • I Don't Like Mondays
  • Monday, Monday
    Monday, Monday
    "Monday, Monday" is a 1966 song written by John Phillips and recorded by The Mamas & the Papas for their 1966 album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears. It was the group's only number one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100....

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