Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Where did the Days of the Week get their English names from?

Oftentimes one is confronted with trivia questions that one should know, but you do not. You thought you knew, or you know you should have known, but you do not. The bad part is that the village idiot is better informed than you are. The way I get past these embarrassing situations is to make fun of it. Usually say something mundane referring to the finite space in my brain that is full of important stuff and no room for trivial information. This fools nobody, especially me.
Anyhow, one of those areas relates to the origin of English names for the days of the week. I am sure there must be at least one other person out there that suffers from the same lack of knowledge. This post is for both of us.
OK, Sunday. Day of the Sun. Easy to remember Translation from Latin solis dies.
Monday is also easy to remember, also translated from Latin, lunae dies, moon day which is Monday.
Tuesday is a new one to me, the day of Tiw, the Teutonic war god. Things get a bit confused here as reference is made again to the Latin translation of Martis dies, the Roman war god, Mars. My understanding is that Tiw is the Teutonic translation of , or association with, Mars
Wednesday is the day of Woden, or Odin, the main Teutonic God. Also a translation of Latin for Mercurii dies, the Roman god equated with Woden.
Thursday is named after the Norse god of thunder, Thors Day which became Thursday. Again translated from Latin for the Roman god of thunder, Jove.
Friday got its name from Frigga, Woden’s wife. Here it gets a bit confusing as there are references to Freya, also a Norse goddess of love and beauty, associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. So, that one is debatable. (It is always good to have a Silver Bullet to use when there is a wise ass about, it creates the impression that you know more than you really do, especially if you did not contribute to the discussion of any of the other days)
Saturday is the day of Saturn, Roman god of agriculture, translated from Saturni dies.
Now that I know more about this topic, it will most probably only be needed after I have forgotten everything....

1 comment:

lava Soap said...

Tuesday is named after Odin's other son, the god of war.