"Monday's Child" is one of many fortune-telling songs, popular as nursery rhymes for children. It is supposed to tell a child's character or future based on the day he or she was born and to help young children remember the days of the week. As with all nursery rhymes, there are many versions. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 19526.
This rhyme was first recorded in A. E. Bray's Traditions of Devonshire (Volume II, pp. 287–288) in 1838 and was collected by James Orchard Halliwell in the mid-nineteenth century. The tradition of fortune telling by days of birth is much older. Thomas Nashe recalled stories told to "yong folks" in Suffolk in the 1570s which included "tell[ing] what luck eurie one should have by the day of the weeke he was borne on". Nashe thus provides evidence for fortune telling rhymes of this type circulating in Suffolk in the 1570s.
There was considerable variation and debate about the exact attributes of each day and even over the days. Halliwell had 'Christmas Day' instead of the Sabbath. Despite modern versions in which "Wednesday's child is full of woe," an early incarnation of this rhyme appeared in a multi-part fictional story in a chapter appearing in Harper's Weekly on September 17, 1887, in which "Friday's child is full of woe", perhaps reflecting traditional superstitions associated with bad luck on Friday - as many Christians associated Friday with the Crucifixion. In addition to Wednesday's and Friday's children's role reversal, the fates of Thursday's and Saturday's children was also exchanged and Sunday's child is "happy and wise" instead of "blithe and good".
Enchanted is the first novel in The Woodcutter Sisters series by Alethea Kontis about sisters named for the day of the week, mothered by Seven Woodcutter. The first concerns Sunday, who is "bonny and blithe and good and gay". The sisters' roles and personalities are based off the rhyme, though some ironically as Sunday notes. The second novel, Hero, features Saturday as the Protagonist.
In The Wild Wild West episode "The Night of Miguelito's Revenge" (1968), Dr. Loveless abducts seven individuals who match the characters in the poem, on the day each character is mentioned.
The Raiders' 1970 album "Collage" contains the track "Wednesday's Child", the lyrics of which are another variation of the "Monday's Child" nursery rhyme, with the song ending with the lines "Wednesday's child is full of woe. Woe I know, I am Wednesday's Child"
'Wednesday's Child' is the name of a story arc of David Hopkins' webcomic Jack.
"Old Mama Saturday ('Saturday's Child Must Work for a Living')" (1995) by Marie Ponsot, featured in the 1995 volume of the annual Best American Poetry, vol. 8 (New York: Collier Books, 1995), refers to the rhyme in its title.