Every Monday, alarms go off, and people get ready for the start of the school or their workweek. Five days later, on Friday afternoon, students and workers celebrate the beginning of the weekend. Almost all around the world, people follow the same schedule: five days of learning or laboring and two days of rest and relaxation. Have you ever wondered why everyone sticks to this routine?
Let’s address the issue of the “seven-day week” first. This dates back to ancient Babylon, some 4,000 years ago. It was all about the seven classical planets in the solar system
The Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. As keen astronomers and astrologers, the Babylonians attached great importance to the solar system, which influenced how they tracked the days. The Babylonians believed in many gods and associated them with the seven classical planets, which was why they settled on seven days in a week.
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The concept of the “five-day workweek,” on the other hand, is a much more recent invention. That makes sense if you consider that before the Industrial Revolution, most people lived on farms, which required daily labor and chores. The idea of taking days off from work only emerged with the rise of industrial work. In fact, the earliest recorded use of the term “weekend” occurred in 1879.
The idea of a weekend as we know it didn’t immediately catch on, though. Many jobs required workers to be on-site seven days a week. However, the need for time off for church on Sunday or temple on Saturday pushed employers to permit small breaks in workers’ schedules. Also, as labor unions grew more powerful, workers called for and received two full days off each week, as well as more reasonable working hours and safer working conditions. Later in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the two-day weekend became the norm, since a shorter workweek was considered a remedy for underemployment.
What Did You Learn?
1. What do we learn about the term “seven-day week” in the passage?
(A) It was created after the industrial revolution.
(B) It refers to the eight planets in the solar system.
(C) It was first mentioned in the 19th century.
(D) It’s related to the Babylonians’ belief system.
2. Which of the following was NOT a factor in the adoption of a two-day weekend?
(A) Religious services.
(B) Stronger worker rights.
(C) Increased farm laborers.
(D) Dealing with employment issues.
答案：1. (D) 2. (C)
Word in Use
1. relaxation n. 放鬆
Meditation is a good relaxation technique for stress relief.
2. keen a. 熱衷的
The keen student works hard on her research.
3. attach vt. 繫住，使附著
attach importance to. . . 重視…
Amy attached great importance to science and technology education for her children.
4. concept n. 概念，觀念
The central concept of the film is very unique.
5. invention n. 發明（物）
The invention of Internet slang has recently become a research interest for linguists.
1. go off （鈴聲、鬧鐘等）響起來
Ted was late for work this morning, because he didn’t hear the alarm clock going off.
2. stick to N／V-ing 堅守
You can either stick to your boring life or step out of your “comfort zone.”
3. date back to+時間 回溯至…（某時）
The tribe’s annual hunting event dates back to hundreds of years ago.
4. associate A with B 將A與B聯繫在一起
Many people associate the cosmetic brand’s image with youth and vitality.
A very popular dish at Taiwanese night markets for generations has been the oyster omelet, with its soft sticky texture and slightly crispy edge. In Taiwan, this dish is often pronounced in Taiwanese Hokkien as o-a-tsian, which literally means “oyster fried.” One unique feature of the language is that a dish is often named by saying its major ingredients first, followed by the method used to cook it. 蚵仔煎是台灣流傳好幾代的夜市美食，口感軟黏，邊緣微脆，在台灣多半以台語念做o-a-tsian，意思為「牡蠣煎」。這是台語獨特的語法，命名時會將食材的名字加上烹飪的動詞，就成了菜餚的名字。 omelet (n.) 煎蛋餅（英式拼法為 omelette） sticky (adj.) 黏黏的 texture (n.) 口感，質地 ingredient (n.) 食材 An oyster omelet is made by frying oysters, eggs and vegetables, then pouring a sweet potato starch
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