You know Mack and Mabel? That wonderful song at the end – now, don’t start sobbing – ‘Time heals everything . . . Monday, Wednesday . . . Time heals EVerything . . . Friday, Tuesday . . .’ I don’t remember the exact lyrics, or the exact mis-order of the days of the week, but the music swells at the end and it goes, ‘TIME HEALS EVERYTHING . . . but lov – ing – you.’Well, my point is . . . why do we have the days in the week in the order that we do?

And so it’s time for a little music of our own – our ASK BRYAN music – and, as we did last week, turn back time. Or at least some of the mysteries surrounding it.

Bryan Norcross explains:

‘It’s all very nutty, and I’ll skip some of the details, but here’s the bottom line. Remember: there were only 7 known nearby celestial bodies. The question is … in what order? Well, first you have to know the order the ancients thought they were from the earth. The list beginning with the closest was: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.

‘Not only did the Mediterraneans (Egyptians, Persians, etc.) think that each day was owned by a planet, they thought (more fundamentally) that each 7-hour period was owned by a planet… in reverse order!

‘So, beginning with Saturn getting hours 1-7 of the first day, then Jupiter hours 8-14, then Mars 15-21, then the Sun 22-28, lo and behold, the Sun gets the next day because it ‘begins’ the next 24 hours period.

‘Continuing: Venus, 29-35; Mercury, 36-42; Moon, 43-49. And there you go, the Moon gets the beginning of the next day, the 48th hour. And on you go until you get the order of the days of the week ‘ruled’ by Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus. Yes, in this scheme Saturday is first. Genesis affected the beginning-of-the-week issue in Christian countries. Bizarrely, in cultures as diverse as ancient Egypt and the ancient Japan, the order was the same.’

(I’d hit you with a chorus of ‘It’s A Small World After All,’ but I’d rather you leave humming Mack & Mabel.)

Tomorrow, back to the fun stuff: Bond Taxation

(Can’t wait for something more substantive? Click here.)


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