Of weekends and rest…

Today’s the weekend.

Or what we have been calling (largely) Saturday and Sunday from the past 90-odd years.

A gift from the factory-based economy. A 9-5 working day being the other.

But have you wondered how it was before that? Did people have a weekend? Did they look forward to two days of rest (or laundry)?

Well, it differed from culture to culture. Most Christian cultures took a day off on Sunday, Muslim cultures on Friday. In India, there was no fixed day.

Certain tithis are not conducive for study or beginning new efforts. In gurukulams (schools) and aadheenams (monasteries) there were times of rest, or lower activity. As they occur in pairs four times per moon, they are roughly parallel to the modern “weekend,” though, of course, they did not (and do not) necessarily fall on Saturday and Sunday.

The restful tithis are Ashtami, Navami, Amavasya, Prathama and Purnima. Each was known to have its own special nature, and hence there was a different activity (or non-activity) performed on these days.

Purnima (full-moon day) is considered especially good for worship. Amavasya (new moon day) is best for meditation. Amavasya and Purnima are times of vrata, observing religious vows. Prathama, the tithi following both Purnima and Amavasya, is generally a good day for seminars and philosophical discussions.

Ashtami and Navami are ideally reserved for rest and relaxation. Ashtami is traditionally a day for fasting and not a good day for learning. Ashtami is considered inauspicious for beginning new activities because of the inharmonious energies existing due to the relationship between the sun and moon.

The rest of the days are good to go, but then there are times of the day to consider.

While it may be tough to follow this calendar in today’s world, it is not impossible. For instance, one can fast and meditate as per the prescribed days, and not keep any additional or back-bending tasks on Ashtami and Navami. Whether you believe in it or not, such routines help you to be more alert to the passage of time, rather than falling into the rut of the standard Mon-Fri and weekends off kind of routine.

Try it!