Moon’s Day? Odin? Origins of The Days of the Week

a close up of a saturn planet with a black background

The seven days of the week that we follow today have their roots deeply embedded in ancient civilizations and religious beliefs. Each day of the week derives its name from a combination of various historical, mythological, and celestial influences. Let’s delve into the origins of these names and the fascinating stories behind them.

  1. Sunday, the first day of the week in many cultures, owes its name to the Sun. The English word “Sunday” stems from the Old English “Sunandæg,” which means “day of the Sun.” This association can be traced back to ancient Roman times when Sunday was dedicated to worshipping the Sun god, Sol Invictus.
  2. Monday derives its name from the Moon. The English word “Monday” comes from the Old English “Monandæg,” meaning “Moon’s day.” The connection between Monday and the Moon can be observed in various languages, such as “lundi” in French and “lunes” in Spanish.
  3. Tuesday is named after the planet Mars. The English word “Tuesday” originates from the Old English “Tiwesdæg,” referring to “Tiw,” the Germanic god of war. Tiw corresponds to the Roman god Mars, who was associated with the planet Mars.
  4. Wednesday is linked to the Germanic god Odin, also known as Woden or Wotan. The name “Wednesday” is derived from the Old English “Wodnesdæg,” which means “Woden’s day.” Odin, the chief Norse god, was associated with wisdom, war, and poetry.
  5. Thursday is associated with the planet Jupiter. The name “Thursday” is derived from the Old English “Þunresdæg,” meaning “Thor’s day.” Thor, the mighty Norse god of thunder, was the equivalent of the Roman god Jupiter, who was associated with the planet Jupiter.
  6. Friday is associated with the planet Venus. The name “Friday” originated from the Old English “Frīgedæg,” referring to the goddess Frige or Frigg, the wife of Odin. Frigg corresponded to the Roman goddess Venus, who was associated with love and beauty.
  7. Saturday is named after the planet Saturn. The English word “Saturday” comes from the Old English “Sæterdæg,” signifying “Saturn’s day.” Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture and time, was associated with the planet Saturn.

These names have endured through centuries of cultural evolution, with their origins deeply rooted in the beliefs and practices of ancient civilizations. The influences of celestial bodies, mythological figures, and religious traditions have shaped the way we refer to each day of the week. Exploring their origins not only provides us with a glimpse into the beliefs and cultures of our ancestors but also reminds us of the enduring legacy that connects us to the past.

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