Today the name Solomon Grundy brings to mind a supervillian in D.C. Comics. He’s a murder victim brought back to life as a zombie. Back in the groovy seventies it was name of a psychedelic band in Seattle that died. And even before that it Solomon Grundy was the name of a nursery rhyme that explicitly taught our children that” no one here gets out alive.“
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday.
That was the end,
of Solomon Grundy.
How did the name Solomon Grundy come to represent so many different things? Here’s a clue. The 16th century French physician, monk and humorist, François Rabelais took great pleasure in describing a particular dinner dish named “salmigondi” This “hodgepodge” of meat, fish, eggs and greens is also reported also to have been a popular spread among pirates and buccaneers of the Caribbean West Indies. And today a Jamaican fish pâté composed of pickled herrings, peppers and onion is still being offered as Solomon Grundy and relished by many in that region.
Etymologically “salmigondin” is derived from the French word “salmigondis” which means a “disparate assembly of things, ideas or people, forming an incoherent whole.” So now as we look at the Solomon Grundy nursery rhyme, it is clear that any consideration of the seven day week must admit that each day – Monday through Sunday -is distinctly different in flavor but served in sequence present a seven-course extravaganza. The lyrics of Solomon Grundy (the song) were first recorded in 1842 by scholar and antiquarian, James Orchard Hilliwell-Phillipps.
The dark references to sickness, death, and burial in this nursery rhyme can be attributed to the fact that what we call a “nursery rhyme” was just “street talk” with standard expectations of life. Many of these clever verses helped everyday people to remember everyday information.
Why not compare the days of the week to their astrological traditions. Just click the following weekday names and you will taken to the Dayology Almanac, our growing collection of facts, folklore and superstitions. The nature of each of the seven days are presented metaphorically: Monday is impressionable; Tuesday can be threatening; Wednesday is highly deliberative; Thursday and Friday tend to be pleasantly benign; Saturday is dark and ominous; Sunday is hot but redemptive. This little exercise bypasses our over-used brain cells, and taps into our our intuition. That’s the part of our mind that “gets” Dayology and what is truly going on.