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.

English

Saxon

Title of God

Roman

French

Monday

Mona

The Moon

Moon

Lundi

Tuesday

Tiu

God of War

Mars

Mardi

Wednesday

Woden

The Cunning God

Mercury

Mercredi

Thursday

Thor

Thunder God

Jove

Jeudi

Friday

Freya

Goddess of Love

Venus

Vendredi

Saturday

God of Time

Saturn

Samedi

Sunday

Sunne

The Sun

Sun

Dimanche