Why Louisiana Eats Red Beans and Rice on Mondays
This morning my wife and I were watching Good Morning Acadiana when the school lunch menus came on. My wife made a comment about so many schools serving red beans and rice today, and I commented "Well yeah, it's Monday."
She looked at me like I was crazy, which isn't that unusual given the things that come out of my mouth. This made me think, why do we eat red beans and rice on Mondays?
Why Do People Eat Red Beans And Rice On Monday?
As I kid on Sunday nights, I knew it was time to take a shower, settle down, and get ready for school the next morning when I heard my mom pouring the red beans in the pot to soak overnight.
Honestly, we probably ate red beans and rice for dinner every Monday when I was growing up. However, I never stopped to think about why red beans and Mondays are a thing until today.
The Tradition of Eating Red Beans and Rice on Mondays
Back in the day, Mondays were traditionally known as "wash days", the day when all of the family laundry was done. Doing all that laundry left little time to pay attention to cooking dinner. Red beans and rice were a perfect solution.
From neworleansonline.com -
Mondays used to be the traditional wash day of the week. Traditionally, women of the house would put on a pot of red beans to cook all day while they tended to the laundry, since the meal required little hands-on attention. The beans were largely seasoned by the leftover hambone from the previous night’s dinner.
So, once I found this out, it raised two more questions.
Why were Mondays wash days, and why did we eat ham on Sundays?
Many years ago, housework work was run on a pretty strict schedule. Each day of the week had a specific job assigned to it.
From berksmontnews.com -
Monday, wash-day; Tuesday, ironing; Wednesday, mending; Thursday, upstairs cleaning; Friday, baking; Saturday, cleaning downstairs; Sunday, church. Downstairs cleaning was done on Saturday because Sunday afternoon was visiting day.
So, there you have it. The history of why we eat red beans and rice on Mondays in Louisiana.
The mystery I can't figure out is why Louisiana's official "Red Beans and Rice Day" is on October 24.
How can our official "Red Beans and Rice Day" not be dedicated to a specific Monday during October? You know, like the 3rd Monday in October every year.
Obviously, October 24 will land on a different day of the week every year. To have "Red Beans and Rice Day" on a Tuesday just feels...wrong.