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Short History of Monday

 

Short History of Monday

6 February 2006 History & Mythology, LIVING, CULTURE 6

One day, we went to run errands and discovered that the banks were closed and even the car dealership (which we so carefully planned to get to *first thing* this morning so we wouldn't have to wait in line) was closed. We looked around us and most businesses were closed.

Finally, we figured out that it was Constitution Day. The first Monday of February has been officially declared Constitution Day by the federal government of Mexico, a convention the United States started awhile ago. This nicely creates three-day weekends, which everyone loves, and in Mexico, those are called puentes (bridges).

When we first moved to the Yucatan, we noticed how people often didn't work on Monday. We were told that it was San Lunes (Saint Monday). That tradition is related to an even older one. Maya who worked on haciendas were required to work on Mondays for free. The Maya were taxed by the government and paid their taxes in labor (which they had) instead of money (which they didn't have). After awhile, resentments grew over this arrangement. People started not showing up on Mondays... thus, San Lunes. And we've read this was one of the conditions that led to the Caste Wars. Sadly, San Lunes (and the tradition of siesta) seems to be disappearing as more and more workers and businesses in Merida are becoming 'modernized'. But if you are renovating your house, and your workers tend to not show up on Mondays, now you know why. And you can enjoy knowing that you (and they) are following in an historic tradition!

Even Mondays have a history around here...

Comments

  • Margarita De Boer 13 years ago

    I just discover your site (thanks to one of my dear New Yorker friend who can't wait to move to Merida). I really enjoy all your comments and point of view as an American. I live currently in Southern Calif. but originally I was born in Mexico City. Even thought, OC is the please to be for many people and the weather is great on this part of the country I still miss so much my roots and history and I can’t wait to retire in Merida.

    Thank you for all the information, it is very interesting and very well done this is a great website. Any time I surf in it I get transported to Mexico and make me dream about all this fantastic places located in the Yucatan Peninsula.

    Greetings,

    M. De Boer

  • Ana Echeverria 13 years ago

    I'm very, very familiar with the traditions of Meridians. Mayber it's a tradition (Santa Lunes) with the "humble" class of Merida. But certainly not the middle class and the upper crust.
    Many restaurants, museums and shoe repair shops are also closed in the New York Metro area.

  • ENOVELO 13 years ago

    As you "Yucagringos" well know, the intense heat in the afternoon give us a routine to the siesta. All with almuerzo(lunch like), showering to beat the over 95 degree or more temperatures, then go back to a cooler evening for work. I'm agreeing with Khaki, that we can not take Yucatecan people apart from their cultural identity.

  • Khaki 15 years ago

    Personally, I love "siesta" and think it is one of the more civilized characteristics of Yucatecan culture. What are people in such a hurry for? There is no place any of us has to be that is so important that we should give up a well ordered, healthy lifestyle.

    Miguel, the "habits" of the Yucatecan people are part of their cultural identiy. There is nothing wrong with such things as siesta, and very well may be everything right about it (from a wellness point of view). Never - ever - change who you are, or what you do, as a people, simply to impress "foreigners." Did it ever occur to you that those same foreigners may be jealous of your way of life? I hope we never lose such things as siesta because the alternative is the "Rat Race." We all know the end of that story - and there is nothing nice about it.

  • Working Gringos 17 years ago

    But, Miguel, we like siestas!

  • Miguel 17 years ago

    It`s sad to read from people like you this bad habbits that the mexican government applies to "improve the tourism" because as you know the constitution day it has been every february 5th not february 6th (lazy policy) but don't worry about it next president will change this policy to the official constitution day the fifth. That santa lunes and siesta are habbits of yucatecan people belive me we're trying to change that image for foreign people.

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