A welcome missive has been received from Arthur Pound, current Leader of the Junior Scientists League. He writes – ‘Sirs, we all have been taken aback by the wealth of knowledge you have imparted in regard to our earliest ancestors. Could you settle a vexing question that has spread among our membership in regard to the origins of the names of the days of the week, which seem nonsensical, yet we are sure derive from great matters of antiquity?’
We shall start from the simple and proceed to the complex. There are five days in the week, seventy three weeks in a year. The names of the days being in order – Sunday, Today, Midday, Mayday, Santaday.
Sunday recalls an ancient ritual in which persons would read a journal of the week’s events. These journals were called Suns, and went by multiple versions including The Sun, The Sun Herald, Sun News etc. Our concern is that such a weekly ritual would require many more books than can be found in the archaeological record. The most cynical view is that each Sun had the same contents as used before and that the ancient had simply forgotten the events of the week previous.
A common misconception is that the name has connection with the sun itself. The notion is nonsensical given that the sun shows no particular preference for the day in question.
It is generally held that Today is a corruption of ‘two day’, namely the second day of the week. Recent work by UNP’s Faculty of Recall suggests an interesting alternative. Recently unearthed artefacts have inscriptions such as COOKING TODAY or USA TODAY which seem not to mean cooking (or ‘usaing’) only on the second day of the week, but over a longer period. Here we need to grasp the ancients’ primitive conception of time. Being equatorial they would see the sun rise and fall fully each day over the entire year, which to them ’caused’ days. But they had need of longer periods of time and so created a ‘day’ more like our seasons of long light or dark. That might be the old ‘today’.
Most startling is an artefact labelled TODAY TONIGHT. Obviously the nights had their names as well – we are at a loss to comprehend a culture that had a ‘sunnight’ but the evidence is plausible that a ‘tonight’ existed. If so the ancient week was complex indeed, having 5 days of which one was a season, and 5 nights.
Midday is the most sensible and scientific of all the names and can be traced to more modern times. It is the middle day of the five, and the day on which resting takes place. It is claimed (without proof) to be the invention of the first Chief Scientist of The Southern Polar Region. While we would not dispute this claim without hard evidence, we do note the superior record of invention in the Northern realm.
Mayday has conflicting origin myths, none of which are convincing. Best known is the legend of the parade that would take place on each Mayday. The ancients would assemble at one place carrying tools and weapons and walk all day in the one direction. The most important of them would stand and watch with approval. The recent theory of queues lends some credence to this tale, but what are we to make of a heavily equipped journey with no task at the end? If they had been about building a monument we could fathom it.
Another tale is about flying people, who would call ‘mayday!’ at each other so as to avoid collisions. Again, another line of explanation is suggested by a music container of the brittle sort that is labelled HERE WE GO GATHERING NUTS IN MAY. No nuts were found at the site.
Santaday is so known after the greatest ruler of ancient times. That this Santa ruled the globe for such a length of time was due to his place being taken in turn by many generations of the one royal family. Each person was known individually as Mr. President, and would in turn step through increasing levels of power, from Elf, to Senator, to Prime Minister to Santa.
So that each Santa would seem to be the same immortal, the royal would be disguised in a red suit with white hair, holding a Coca Cola as sign of rank. He was said to fly with the aid of animals. He would judge all of humanity and reward or punish as the case demanded. Obviously the one Santa could not be everywhere at once and so Prime Ministers would act in each Santa’s stead. Santas were enthroned at the North Pole, hence this legendary figure is displayed within the logo of UNP. Alas, we know not why he wore such heavy clothing for our tropical clime.