"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.
Common modern versions include:
- Monday's child is fair of face,
- Tuesday's child is full of grace,
- Wednesday's child is full of woe,
- Thursday's child has far to go,
- Friday's child is loving and giving,
- Saturday's child works hard for a living,
- But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
- Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.
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".
- Monday's Child (2004) and Tuesday's Child (2005) are novels written by Louise Bagshawe
- Wednesday's Child (1956) is a short story by William Tenn (pen name of Philip Klass) published in Fantastic Universe in 1956.
- Wednesday's Child (2011) is a short story by Ken Bruen, nominated for the 2011 CWA Short Story Dagger
- "Thursday's Child Has Far To Go is a travel blog by Nicola Ruth Slawson 
- Thursday's Child (1956) is one of Eartha Kitt's three autobiographies.
- Thursday's Child (1970) is a novel by Noel Streatfeild.
- Thursday's Child (2000) is a novel by Sonya Hartnett.
- Thursday's Child (2013) is a novel by Monique Martin.
- Friday's Child (1944) is a novel by Georgette Heyer.
- "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.
- Prior Walter refers to the poem in Tony Kushner's play Angels in America (1985–86) (Act III Scene 1)
- Wednesday's Child is a play in the umbrella series Kraft Television Theatre (season 1, episode 15), broadcast on January 21, 1954.
- "Friday's Child" (1967) is an episode of the original Star Trek television series.
- 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.
- "Thursday's Child" is an episode in the fifth season of the series Road to Avonlea, in which Great Aunt Eliza recites part of this poem in relation to Cecily.
- "Thursday's Child" is an episode of Murder, She Wrote in season 7.
- "Wednesday's Child" is an episode in season 1 of the US version of Prime Suspect.
- Thursday's Child is mentioned in The Tree, a 2010 Australian/French film starring Charlotte Gainsbourg.
- John Barry's main theme for the film The Quiller Memorandum (1966) is called "Wednesday's Child" (sung by Matt Monro)
- Nancy Sinatra had a hit in 1966 with "Friday's Child"
- David Gates, later of Bread, composed a song called "Saturday's Child" that was included on the 1960s' American pop rock band The Monkees' eponymous first album (1966).
- 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"
- Van Morrison wrote a song entitled "Friday's Child" (1971) while with the band Them.
- The Chameleons' 1983 album Script of the Bridge contains the track Thursday's Child.
- "Tuesday's Child" is a song on the second album (1988) by Contemporary Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman.
- David Bowie included a song called "Thursday's Child" on his 1999 album 'Hours...'.
- "Wednesday's Child" is a song by Emiliana Torrini which appears on her 1999 album Love in the Time of Science.
- Will Young released an a|lbum named Friday's Child (2003). The title track has a variant of the rhyme as its chorus.
- Isobel Campbell included a song called "Thursday's Child" on her album Milkwhite Sheets (2006).
- 'Wednesday's Child' is the name of a story arc of David Hopkins' webcomic Jack.
- Grim and macabre Wednesday Addams of the Addams Family was named for the nursery rhyme.
- British folk metal pioneers Skyclad included "Wednesday's Child" as one of two main characters described in their song "The Widdershins Jig" (along with "Wise man's son"), on their 1991 debut album The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth.
- ^ a b c I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 309-10.
- ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=qw82psYn-eoC&lr&pg=PR2#v=onepage&q&f=false
- ^ A. Fox, Oral and Literate Culture in England, 1500-1700 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 182.
- ^ 'Children's charms and Oracles' New York folklore quarterly (1952), p. 46.
- ^ http://www.nicolaruth.blogspot.com
- ^ Kraft Television Theatre: Wednesday's Child on the Internet Movie Database.
- ^  Episode 61 (Season 5, Episode 9), originally aired on CBC: February 27, 1994
- ^ http://www.thechameleons.com/lyrics/index.php?song=8