Saturday, March 29, 2014

Friday, not your average day

No day of the week, with the possible exception of Sunday, is as linguistically busy as the fifth day of Western calendar and sixth day of the Jewish holiday.  Reflecting the heritage of English, the name of day is derived from the Norse god Frigg, wife of Odin, with a similar status to Venus.  Due to its proximity to Saturday and Sunday, the traditional rest days in the West, many events and connotations have attached themselves to it.

First of all, according to the old poem, a child born on Friday is loving and giving, generally a good thing.  Parents should be grateful of that. Many people also say TGIF, i.e. thank God it’s Friday, happy with the knowledge that tomorrow they won’t have to go to work the next day.  For that matter, to help celebrate, many office workers are allowed to wear jeans on Friday, appropriately called Jeans Friday or casual Friday.  Catholics would agree with Good Friday, although many question why Jesus getting crucified can be good day.  I suppose it is a matter of faith.  On the flip side, black Friday was an awful day in 1929 when the stock markets collapsed.  Similarly, Friday the 13th is supposedly a day of disaster, as depicted in those famous/infamous Freddy Kreuger movies.

Interestingly, the French vendredi is also derived from a goddess queen, the actual Venus in this case. Maybe because the next day, samedi, was traditionally  a work day until a few generations ago and still is a partial school day, the French have less enthusiasm towards it.  It borders on blasé as the expression vendredi, c’est ravioli signifies that something is a fact.  No happy hour excitement there.

In Israeli,  יום שישי [yom shishi], meaning the sixth day, no goddesses here, is traditionally a busy day.  God had to finish the whole creation business so he could relax on the Sabbath.  Likewise, we Jewish mortals have to work hard to prepare forשבת  [shabbat], the only unnumbered day.  For this reason, the sixth day is known for סקס, pronounced sex, not for the procreation activity, but for סידורים, קניות ספונג'ה  [sidorim, kniot, and sponga], that is to say, errands, shopping and mopping the floor.  After a long day of that, not to mention cooking for that night and the next day, who has energy for real sex?

So, whether Friday is the gateway to heaven, the weekend, almost a regular day or the mad rush to prepare for the Sabbath, it is a day worthy of note.

P.S. This was written on a Friday.

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