Have you ever wondered,
What does each day of the week stand for?
Do the days of the week mean something?
Why do we have seven days?
Why can't we get rid of the seven days week and add or remove some days? Like, who wouldn't appreciate an extra day between Saturday and Sunday? 😉
I have also asked myself these questions and this led to make a search about the history of "days of the week". In this article, I'll be sharing what I learn so far from my study.
Firstly, I'll answer the question of;
Why do we have seven days in a week?
Why we have seven days instead of 5,6,8 or any other number has a very trick history, but here's a summary.
We owe the Babylonians who lived in modern-day Iraq credit for what we have as the number of days in a week. They were good observers and interpreters of the earth and moon. It was observed that the earth revolved around the sun and it took 365 and 1/4 days to complete a revolution, this made a solar year and an extra day every four years (leap year).
It was also observed that the Moon revolves around the earth 13 times in a solar year, and one revolution took about 27 days and 7 hours ( A Month). The Babylonians then divided a month into 4 equal parts of 7 days each, though there were still some inconsistencies eventually the seven days in a week theory was later adopted by the Jews, Persians and Greeks.
Emperor Constantine of the Roman empire later decreed a seven day week and also declared Sunday as a public holiday in A.D 321, the 12 months were named and the seven days week was now generally accepted.
Though there have been various attempt to alter the number of days in a week, none has been successful, probably because it has been here for as long as we understood times and season, so it seems it is here to stay.
Okay, that's all concerning the history of " why seven days in a week?'
Hope it is clear? 😏
What does each day of the week mean
The Romans named the days of the weeks according to their gods. Those gods corresponded to some planets (Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn), plus the Moon and the Sun (which were rated, pagan gods).
Probably not your favourite day right? Me too
Monday is referred to as the "Moon day", it pays tribute to Selene, the goddess of the moon according to Greek mythology
In English, the word comes from Old English “Mōnandæg”. It honours the moon-god Máni whose origin dates back to Norse mythology.
Tuesday meaning has a unique touch.
According to Latin, Tuesday means " dies Mars", Mars is known as the Roman God of War. It is a day that pays tributes to Mars
In English, Tuesday has its origin in the Old English “Tīwesdæg”, which is based on Tiw (or Tyr) who was the Norse god of war. The day’s name changed later from Tiwsday to Tuesday.
Who else thinks of WCW when Wednesday comes to mind?
Just me? Okay.
Wednesday comes from Old English “Wōdnesdæg” and means “Woden’s day”. Wōden or Odin is a Germanic-Norse god said to be the father and ruler of the gods and mortals.
The Romans also associated Wōden to Mercury believing that they were both messengers of souls after death.
A lot of you are familiar with the "Thor", our dear god of thunder, if not I recommend "Marvel Movie: Thor".
Well, the equivalent Roman god is Jupiter: the king of gods, sky and thunder. Hence, Thursday is attributed to "Thor; the god of thunder"
Here comes our favourite day!
Friday comes from Old English “Frīgedæg” and it refers to the Norse goddess Frigg (or Freya), the wife of Odin. She’s commonly associated with Venus: the Roman goddess who personifies love, beauty, marriage and fertility.
The English “Saturn’s day” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “Sæturnesdæg” which dates back to the Latin-based “dies Saturni”. Saturn, the father of Jupiter, is the Roman god of time, fertility, and agriculture.
Though, some cultures don't follow the Roman model due to some religious beliefs. Saturday is regarded as the Jewish day of rest ( Sabbath Day). In Spanish, it is called " Sábado" from the Latin word " Sabbatum" which means " Day of the Sabbath".
Sundays are well honoured among Christians all over the world, thanks to Emperor Constantine.
When Constantine converted himself to Christianity. It is said that God sent him a vision of a cross of light bearing the inscription “in hoc signo vinces “ (“in this sign, you will be victorious”). Hereupon, Sunday became a rest day where any kind of manual works was forbidden in Rome.
As the name implies Sunday is the Sun's day and the English word comes from “Sunnandæg” which was inspired in the Latin “dies solis”. In view of Norse mythology, the sun is personified by the goddess named Sunna (or Sól).
So there you have it, " The Meaning and Origin of the days of the week",
What do you think?
Would you add or remove an extra day if you could?
Let's know your thoughts in the comment section...😊