The Long and Winding Weekend...(it's a Beatles Reference...give it a minute)

Ahhh. It's Friday, it's fall, and it's about 60 degrees outside. What could be better? Oh, yeah, I could have the day off, they could be running a marathon of "The Office" on NBC and I could win the Lottery tomorrow night. Well, now I'm back down to Earth.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their tremendous response to the past couple of blogs. I've had tons of views and comments, and I appreciate the feedback. This is what I want to do for a living (write, not write blogs in my underwear before I get ready for work), so thanks for giving me an audience and the experience. Also I want to thank Deanne again for nominating me in the MySpace Awards. In case you missed yesterday, I'm up for Best Blog/Writer, and to vote all you need to do is click the link at the bottom of this blog (you can vote every hour, so come back often).

The weekend is something we all enjoy, but what you may not know is the origin of the weekend. Now some believe it is a tradition based in the Judaeo/Christian concept of the Sabbath day. That is an incredibly good reason to rest and reflect on Sunday, but where does the extra day off come from? That's what the Drunken Rogue is all about, informing you of little known facts, traditions and customs.

The History of the Weekend

The common conception of the origin of the word "weekend" is that it is the combination of "week" and "end" signifying the "end of the work week." This simple understanding is workable, but is rooted in a coincidence. The word "weekend" comes from the German "Viigandiffen" which of course means "slaughter time." The long and winding road that (another Beatles reference, this one more overt) "viigandiffen" took to being connected to the period of rest at the end of the week, involves the Vikings, the slow adoption of Christianity by Europeans, and Wienerschnitzel.

At the time that the Roman Empire was ruled by Emperor Constantine, the empire (and the world) was in a great state of change. The adoption of Christianity (at Constantine's suggestion) was throwing old customs out the window. Meanwhile the peoples of Northern Europe were dealing with the increased pressure (and crucifixions) from Rome. The Viking leaders knew that the people were losing hope, and if they lost hope they would lose their identity as Rome absorbed them.

Some of the brightest Viking minds (we're talking about the guys who ACTUALLY discovered America, well...except for the Indians that were already there) got together to create a Viking Pride celebration. They would need games, food, drinks and lots of Viking music (mostly banging big sticks on rocks, not very sophisticated). Of course they could play "catch the slippery boar," and "pin the tail on the town idiot," or "discover a foreign continent," but the people had grown tired of those games. They needed something new, something distinctly Viking. That's when they came up with "limberancolehoffen." The new game needed a large area to play in. So they marked off a large field to keep (or attempt to keep) the partiers on the outside of the game. They broke down into two teams of ten and set about play.

The first Viking Pride Celebration was a huge success. The mead was flowing the wienerschnitzel (or viienerhoffenschnitz as it was then known) was hot, and the new game "limberancolehoffen" was immediately a crowd favorite. The celebration ended on a tragic note however as the Roman Empire had been planning for sometime to finally crush the Viking people. The Romans stormed in to the Viking camps on horseback heavily armed and prepared to kill, the Vikings (most of them drunk and full of wienerschnitzel) were anything but ready to fight. Many Vikings died that day, but many more were captured by the Romans. The Viking prisoners were strong able-bodied workers, and the Romans put them to good use. They built (or helped build) many of the Roman Highways through Europe, made repairs to the aqueduct system throughout Rome, and even constructed a landing pad for the spaceship of the Roman's Alien Overlords.

The Roman's under Constantine were a kinder, gentler evil empire, and while they still used slave labor they wanted to insure that those slaves were well treated (also they knew that working seven days a week killed more slaves than was cost-efficient) so they gave the slaves two days of rest. The Sabbath, Sunday, would be used for attending Church as the Romans wanted to convert the Vikings from the Pagan worship of Odin, and the day before the Sabbath was set aside for rest, bathing (so the Church didn't stink of dirty slave) and for relaxation with sport. The Romans had of course invented "soccer" or as they called it SVKKR ('cause Latin doesn't really have vowels or c's). Roman soccer was much like modern soccer, boring best played by girly men, and completely using your feet. The Vikings tried SVKKR, but they kept longing for their own game, "limberancolehoffen."

One Saturday, the Roman guards were too busy showering presents on their Alien Overlords to lead the Viking prisoners in a game of SVKKR, so the Vikings decided to play their own game. As the Aliens returned to their galaxy the Roman guards began returning to the SVKKR field, just in time to catch the third period. Even the Romans were impressed by the voraciousness with which the Vikings fought each other. The game was such a big hit, that the Romans made the Vikings play it every Saturday (and even occasionally skipped church to throw in another game). A new pastime was born.

Of course, we all know that the Roman Empire fell. Collapsed under its own weight and excess (it didn't help that the Alien Overlords abandoned their Roman supplicants). After the collapse SVKKR again arose as the favorite sport in Europe. Limberancolehoffen, on the other hand was exported by Vikings that returned to the New World after being freed from Rome. These Vikings were adopted into Indian Tribes, but maintained some of their own customs (including the game). Limberancolehoffen was Viking for "armball" it was often referred to though as "Viigan" or "slaughter" because it was such a violent sport. Eventually (because of the weakening of the people and their stomachs) rules were put in place to help protect the players, including one that changed the name of the sport. Kicking the ball away from your opponent became an option, and the name became "voogancolehoffen" or "football."

So this weekend (or Viigandiffen) while you sit back and enjoy some football (or limberancolehoffen) just remember to thank the Vikings for your "slaughter time"...oh, and the Alien Overlords.

**Lawyer's Note**: This entire post is completely false. It bears no resemblance or relation to the truth...except for the part about the Alien Overlords, that's totally real. **End Lawyer's Note**