Days of the Week

The history of the days of the week is closely intertwined with the advancement of mankind through the centuries. The Week came to have seven days mainly because it was a relatively easy way to break up the month into four manageable segments. There was also the fact that the Hebrews believed that God created the Earth and heavens in seven days. This notion of a holy sanction for the seven day week was passed on to other peoples and religions, including Christians and Moslems.

Sunday is the Lord's day for Christians, yet it is named for the sun. Like many other days of the week it was actually named by the Norsemen who invaded England in the centuries preceding the Norman Conquest. It is a Norse change of the Roman designation of the day.

If the sun has its own day why not the moon on Monday? Astronomic bodies played a prominent place in the beliefs of early peoples. The moon and its phases was especially fascinating.

Tuesday is not named for the number. It is named for the Norse god of War. Was Wednesday named for weddings? Not even close. (Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.) Another in the line of days named for Norse gods. This one was for Woden (or Odin), the chief of the pantheon.

When you hear thunder on Thursday you will remember how this day got its name. It was named for the Scandanavian god of thunder, Thor. Friday is the only day of the week named for a woman. Her name was Frigga and she was the consort of Odin. If Friday falls on the 13th, it is considered by some to be unlucky.

The last day of the week is Saturday. It is the only day of the week in the English language that retained its Roman character. It takes its name from the Roman god of time and the harvest.

Click on the links in the navbar above to find the history of a particular day, or read through the entire site by clicking on the "next page" links at the bottom of each page.

Next Page: The Week

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