Friday, September 23, 2011

Days of the Week

by KJ Howe

Have you ever wondered where the names came from for the days of the week? I find the origins of these accepted standards intriguing, and I hope you will as well. Who decided on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the names of our 24-hour days of the week--and why?

The names of the days of the week from the Roman period have been both named after the seven planets of astronomy and numbered, with Sunday as the beginning. In Slavic languages, a numbering system was adopted, but it began with Monday. An even older tradition of names in Ancient Indian Astrology could arguably be the origin of all these naming systems. Still, these systems have been accepted in countless languages, with a few exceptions resulting from a number of religious and secular considerations.

In English, we call our days of the week after Saxon gods, apart from Saturday. The French call their days of the week after Roman gods. But the Saxon and Roman gods who look after the same day are the same type of god. The table below shows the various names used in the different languages. The Roman months were the same as ours, but our weeks were not. The Romans had eight days in their week, with a market day instead of a weekend, so they didn't use these names. I'm sure many of us wish we had an eighth day in our week. If so, what would you name it? How would you spend the time? What is your favorite day of the week and why? The best answer to these questions will win a $10 Barnes and Noble gift certificate.



Title of God





The Moon





God of War





The Cunning God





Thunder God





Goddess of Love





God of Time





The Sun




Donna MacMeans said...

Woohoo - Hope the GR brings some Tim Tams from Australia when he comes back here.

KJ- Is there a God of Sleep? That's what I'd do with my extra day LOL.

I was looking at the book The Secret Language of Birthdays and it says my birthday (and therefore me) is governed by Venus - so I guess that makes Friday my special day. No wonder I love Fridays so much! Woohoo!

Helen said...

Is he staying with me

Have Fun

Helen said...

How close was that Donna well done and I am sorry to say he ate all the Tim Tams yesterday LOL maybe next time

Have Fun

Helen said...


What an intersting post I have never really thought much about this I guess a lot of us just take thing for granted.

If we had 8 days in a week I should hope the extra day would be a day of rest or a day to spend with family and friends and as for name maybe Famreday LOL

Have Fun

Donn I suggest you get him working today he had a lazy one yesterday.

Virginia said...

I want to call it Playday! It would be a day you could do whatever you wanted to do.If it was reading then you would spend the whole day reading. If you would want to spend it with family that would be fine too. Do what you want to do day.

Sonali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sonali said...

I really don't know what i would call the extra day but i do know that i will use it to just lounge back and relax. Do what ever that strikes the mood. Weekends are spent working, Saturdays are spent doing chores so that leaves only Sundays to relax, i would love an extra day to do that. I love Fridays because maybe i was born on a Friday and it proved really lucky for me.

KJ Howe said...

Congrats, Donna, on the GR!!! Love those Tim Tams.

KJ Howe said...

Donna, yes, we'll name the God of Sleep just for you--Somnolence. LOL

KJ Howe said...

Hey Helen, hope the GR is having fun!!!

KJ Howe said...

Helen, love that idea for Famreday. We do need to spend more time on the important things like family and friends. Love it!

KJ Howe said...

Playday is a huge contender. When we're kids, all we do is play. As adults, we tend to forget this important pastime. Thanks, Virginia!!!

KJ Howe said...

Sonali, I wish I could give you an extra day. Sounds like you are super busy. Fridays are fab! The whole weekend ahead things works for me.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

If so, what would you name it?
Justday, a day to do just what you want to do and nothing else.

How would you spend the time?
Reading, no housework allowed, dinner would come from the freezer.
Like Sonali said the weekends are for catching up on everything that didn't get done through the week.
I work four 10 hour days so I do have an extra day off, unfortunately that doesn't help me as I get nothing done through the week at all. It becomes a work at home day just like Saturday and Sunday.

What is your favorite day of the week and why?
Sunday is my favorite, it is a quiet day, what I didn't get done Saturday is left until Monday (my extra day off) so Sunday is not as frenzied, I still have work to do but the urgency isn't there.

traveler said...

My extra day would be called SweetDay filled with fun, delight, friends, visits and talk about life, love and eating also. Lovely home cooked treats.

Anna Sugden said...

Fun post, KJ!

I always loved that poem about the days of the week - Monday's child etc. Though I always felt sorry for Wednesday's child!

That 8th day should be set aside for all the things you don't have time to do in the week! How about Magic Day - because there is some magic that won't let you do what you do in the other 7!

I think my favourite day is Sunday because it's much quieter than all the other days - especially over here with limited shop opening hours and so on.

petite said...

A complimentary day reserved for spending precious time with husband, a day spent walking, chatting and catching up on life. Day name is sunshine.

LilMissMolly said...

Enjoyed the post. I would love to have an extra day of the week, but I have no idea what to call it.

catslady said...

Well it use to be Sunday was the day of rest. It's a sportsday sometimes for football fans. It's also a day I cook a big dinner for my grown family. So being of Sicilian decent I will call it Mangiaday (pronunciation is "MAHN-djyah) lol.

Sheree said...

I vote for Playday, too! It used to be that Sunday is the day of rest but now people work on that day. I can see that whatever day of rest this 8th day starts off being, it'll end up a regular day anyway.

Still, many people like the convenience of being able to shop whenever we want (thanks to 24-hour supermarkets).

Minna said...

Hmm. Funday! The day for anything fun, whenther that fun is day dreaming, reading, knitting or whatever.

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week:

Deb said...

My fave day of the week is a choice between Friday and Saturday, but if I must choose, it would be Friday; Friday, precisely at 3:30 when school is out for the day and the week. I love teaching, but this year is a challenge.....

Hence, the name of a new day of the week of mine...It would come between Friday and Saturday and would be the first day of a 3-day weekend. I'd name it Whio....Weekly Hell Is Over. Okay, so my weeks aren't that bad nor is my class. But, it still sounds good, huh?! ;)

Anna Campbell said...

Donna, you get the chook! Yay! Make sure he reads REDEEMING THE ROGUE while he's there. That should keep him nice and quiet.

Kate, what a fun post. I love historical trivia like this. Didn't realize the gods corresponded so closely in the different languages when it comes to naming days.

My favorite day is my day off (which tends to float a bit although I call it a Sunday). If I possibly can, I ignore the computer and curl up with a couple of good books. What a wonderful way to relax.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Helen, you were SOOOO close to getting the rooster back!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, no, I meant KJ!!! It's early in the morning here. Cut me some slack! LOL!

Deb said...

I like Petite's day Sunshine. No matter how dreary it is outside, you can always have a day of Sunshine. Love it!

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

I would call the 8th day - Unday-
the day where you sit and relax and go 'Unnnnnnn' all day long.

Anna Campbell said...

Girlygirl, love the idea of Unday. Get undone on Unday!

jo robertson said...

Interesting topic, K.J.! I used to know all this stuff, but "forgot" it, so a refresher is good.

Before I retired my fave day of the week was Thursday. My thinking was that by the time Friday came, the end of the weekend had become. And besides, my favorite sitcom was "Friends" and that aired on Thursdays.

Now, of course, I have many favorite days because I control my own time. Well, sort of, as much as a grandmother can!

Leni said...

I wouldn't want to have eight days in a week. It's tough enough with seven. Eight would really be dragging it and I'm sure I'd still be crunched for time.

Nancy said...

Donna, congrats on the chook!

KJ, what an interesting subject. I love the chart at the bottom.

If I were going to add an 8th day, I'd all it Funday. :-)

Kaelee said...

I love the trivia. I'm not sure if I'd want to add a day into the week. This reminds me of the tea towels you used to find back in the 50's where it was wash day on Monday iron(whst's thst) on Tuesday and other chores for the rest of the week.

I think it would be nice to have a care day where everyone would spend some time caring for the planet, the people and the animals in their lives. It wouldn't have to be tedious or overly serious stuff just basic awareness.

KJ Howe said...

Dianna, love the JustDay. I'm thinking that I would like to "just" relax as well!

KJ Howe said... could one argue with SweetDay??? Love that! I adore chocolate, so maybe I'd call my day Chocoday! :)

KJ Howe said...

Anna S, MagicDay sounds perfect! And who couldn't use a sparkle of fairy dust to help one finish one's tasks???

KJ Howe said...

Petite, as someone who thrives in the sun, Sunshine works for me!

KJ Howe said...

LilMissMolly, we'll call your day Special Day, just for you!

KJ Howe said...

Catslady, love Mangiaday! Bring on the pasta!!!!!

KJ Howe said...

Sheree, what you say is true. I remember in Canada, we could never shop on Sundays, so it was a more relaxed day. Now, it's 24/7-convenient, but a little sad that we lost that special quiet time.

KJ Howe said...

Minna, FunDay works for me. Love the video!

KJ Howe said...

Deb, WHIO is awesome...and even better that not everyone would know what it meant! Thanks for doing a great job with the kids!

KJ Howe said...

Anna C, it's an honor to be mistaken for Kate, so no worries...

I love info like this as well, just like word origins.

KJ Howe said...

Girlygirl, love the unnnnnDay. Yes, if only I could undo all my mistakes!

KJ Howe said...

Jo, so happy that you have more freedom now!!!

KJ Howe said...

Leni, I understand how you feel. Sometimes I think our lives are just a little too full. I hope you get to relax today.

KJ Howe said...

Nancy, FunDay is perfect. Kids know how to have fun--and then somehow as we grow up, we forget. We need to recapture that essence.

KJ Howe said...

Kaelee, CareDay rocks. We do need to make sure we preserve all our precious resources, including people!

KJ Howe said...

Petite, you are the winner of the naming contest. I absolutely love the idea of calling it Sunshine. Nothing makes me happier than seeing that sun rising in the sky. Please drop me an email at so I can get your address. Thanks!!!