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#95670 - Sun Feb 06 2000 10:03 PM Seven Day Week Tour
JoJo2 Offline
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Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
Seven Day Week

Why does a week have seven days?

No one knows exactly where and when the seven day week got started, but it is known to be extremely ancient. The most common theory about its origin relates the seven days to the ancient astrological idea that there were seven celestial bodies revolving around the stationary Earth.

For thousands of years, the astrological seven day week was used in Mesopotamia. It was adopted by the Egyptians, who then passed it on to the Greeks. In 321 AD, Constantine The Great added the seven day week to the Roman calendar, making the first day a day of rest and worship.

What were the days of the Roman week? They were Dies Solis (Sun's Day), Dies Lunae (Moon's Day), Dies Martis (Mars's Day), Dies Mercurii (Mercury's Day), Dies Iovis (Jupiter's Day), Dies Veneris (Venus's Day), and Dies Saturni (Saturn's Day).

This week I will take you on a tour of the English names for the seven days of the week.


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#95671 - Sun Feb 06 2000 10:06 PM Re: Seven Day Week Tour
JoJo2 Offline
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Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
Sunday [n. SUN-day]

Sunday, traditionally the first day of the week. For many modern Christians, it's the Sabbath, a day of rest, although in ancient times the sabbath happened on Saturday.

Old English sunnandaeg was based on Latin Dies Solis (Sun's Day), translated from the Greek hemera Helio (day of the Sun). The Latin name has carried into many languages. In German it's Sonntag, and in Dutch it's Zondag. Swedish and Danish both have Sondag, but with different diacritical marks. In Welsh the day is Dydd Sul.

The Romance languages changed the focus. In French it's Dimanche (Lord's Day) and the Spanish translation of that is Domingo. The Russians call the day Voskresenye (Resurrection).


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#95672 - Mon Feb 07 2000 12:28 AM Re: Seven Day Week Tour
JoJo2 Offline
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Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
Monday [n. MUN-day]

Traditionally, Monday is the second day of the week, when everyone goes back to work, presumably renewed by the quiet, restful weekend just completed.

The Anglo Saxon name for the day was Monan daeg (day of the moon), which was a translation of the Latin Dies Lunae, itself a translation of the Greek hemera Selenes (day of Selene). Modern words for this day are similar in many languages. In German we have Montag, Dutch and Swedish have Maandag, and in Danish it's Mandag.

The romance languages acquired the Latin term more directly. In French, the day is Lundi. Italian has Lunedi, while in Spanish it's Lunes. In Rumanian it's Luni. In Russian, Monday is known as Ponedel'nik ("the day after Sunday," or "after do-nothing day").


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#95673 - Tue Feb 08 2000 10:52 AM Re: Seven Day Week Tour
JoJo2 Offline
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Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
Tuesday [n. TOOZ-day]

Tuesday, which is traditionally the third day of the seven day week. For many people, Tuesday is the most productive day of the week, when we are still relatively fresh and energetic yet fully involved in the week's activities.

Fittingly for such an active, productive day, the Romans called it Dies Martis (day of Mars, the war god), translating from the Greek hemera Areos (day of Ares).

The Germanic cultures borrowed the custom of naming days after gods but used Tiu, their own god of war and the sky, naming the day Tiwesdaeg (Tiu's day). Tiu was derived from the same root as Latin deus (god), which also gave us English diety. Swedish Tisdag and Danish Tirsdag also reflect this origin.

In Russian, this day is called vtornik, which simply means "second day."


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#95674 - Wed Feb 09 2000 10:12 AM Re: Seven Day Week Tour
JoJo2 Offline
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Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
Wednesday [n. WENZ-day]: the fourth day of the traditional seven day week.

Wednesday is the middle day of the five day working week, and as such it is casually called "hump day," the day we "get over the hump" and begin coasting into the weekend. In German, Wednesday is called mitwoch (mid-week). The Russians call it sreda (center).

As with Tuesday, the Germanic people renamed the original Roman day, substituting their own god. The Romans called the day Dies Mercurii (Mercury's Day), after the god of quickness and eloquence, translating from the Greek hemera Hermu (Day of Hermes). The Germanic name was Wodnesdaeg, after Woden, a god who was also quick and eloquent. In Dutch it's Woensdag, and in Swedish it's Onsdag.


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#95675 - Thu Feb 10 2000 11:15 AM Re: Seven Day Week Tour
JoJo2 Offline
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Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
Thursday [n. THURZ-day]: the fifth day of the traditional seven day week.

Thursday was originally called Dies Iovis (Jupiter's Day) in Latin, a name still reflected in some modern languages like French, in which the day is called Jeudi. The Latin name, a translation of the Greek hemera Dios (day of Zeus) honored Jove, the supreme Roman god of the sky and master of the planet Jupiter.

The Latin name was replaced by the Germanic people with a name honoring their own sky god, Thor, the god of thunder. From Germanic Thonaras daga came Old English Thunresdaeg and modern English Thursday, as well as German Donnerstag. Thor's old name also gave us modern English thunder.


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#95676 - Fri Feb 11 2000 01:00 PM Re: Seven Day Week Tour
JoJo2 Offline
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Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
Friday [n. FRY-day] traditionally the sixth day of the week, and the last day of the five day work week.

Friday was known in Old English as Frigedaeg (Frigg's Day), after Frigg, the wife of Odin and the goddess of the hearth and married love. The source of her name was prehistoric Germanic frijaz (noble), which was also the source of English free.

The Romans called the day Veneris Dies, after Venus, their own goddess of love. The Greeks before them also named the day after a goddess of love, calling it hemera Aphrodites (day of Aphrodite). The Latin name for the day led to modern French Vendredi. The Russians, true to their pragmatic form, call the day Pyatnitsa (five).


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#95677 - Sat Feb 12 2000 01:16 PM Re: Seven Day Week Tour
JoJo2 Offline
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Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
Saturday [n. SAT-ur-day]: traditionally the seventh day.

Saturday is the first of two days of rest during which many businesses close. Saturday is also the ancient Sabbath day, as reflected in the Russian name for the day, Subota (sabbath).

Saturday comes from Old English Saeturnesdaeg (Saturn's Day), which sprang from the Latin Dies Saturni (Saturn's Day). The Romans named the day after their god of the harvest, a dour and forbidding old fellow in whose honor the extravagantly uninhibited Saturnalia festival was held every winter.

The Romans translated their name from the Greek hemera Khronu (day of Cronus), after the Greek god who was said to have been ruler of the universe before he was dethroned by Zeus.


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