English, Spanish, and Romanian Days of the Week

Since we talked about the days of the week in Japanese and Korean, I decided we should look at ourselves a little.  Some of the days of the week in English seem to have the same meaning as the Japanese and Korean, but not really. The people who named our days of the week did it in a much more religious way than the people who named the Japanese and Korean days of the week.  My daughter loves to talk about this with me, so I thought about what I already knew in this area from our talks and what I didn’t know, and I looked up what I didn’t know.  I will put it all together for you, and you will see that our European ancestors were very religious people.

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To begin with, we have Sunday.  Yes, it is the day of the sun just like it is in Japanese and Korean.  It is easy to see in English.  However, many English speakers have taken Spanish in high school. What about “Domingo,” Sunday in Spanish?  Domingo means “the day of the Lord,” or the Lord’s day. I am sure many people have heard it called “the Lord’s day” in English.  In Romanian, it is like Spanish. The word for Sunday is “Duminica” also meaning “the day of the Lord.”

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Now, let’s go on to Monday.  It is also like Korean and Japanese.  Monday means moon day.  This is translated to Spanish, Lunes, and Romanian “Luni.” It means the same thing in Korean, Japanese, English, Spanish, and Romania.

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Tuesday is where things begin to get different from Korean and Japanese, but in the European languages, even though the names are different, they mean the same thing.  In English, Tiu’s day is Tuesday.  Tiu is the Germanic god of war.  In Spanish, Martes, and in Romanian, Marti, both mean Tuesday.  The meaning is the same, but the have named the day after the Roman god of war, Mars. This is similar to the Korean and Japanese Tuesday because the name for Tuesday in those languages means “fire day.”

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Next, we have Wednesday.  How many people have seen the Thor movies?  Do you remember who Thor’s father was?  If you don’t remember, his name was Oden.  He is the head god of the Norse.  He is the same as Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic gods called Woden.  Wednesday comes from Woden’s day.  This is where the Romance languages differ from English a little.  They didn’t name Wednesday after Woden or any equivalent to Woden.  They named Wednesday after the Roman go, Mercury, the messenger of the gods, the god of thievery, tricks, science, travel, and eloquence.  The Spanish say Miercoles, and the Romanians say Mercuri. Woden was not the same kind of god that Mercury was.  He was called “insane leader of the hunt.” If you have seen pictures of a guy who flies around with wings on his shoes or on his hat, that was Mercury, the messenger of the gods.  This is completely different from Korean and Japanese.

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After that, we have Thursday. You can probably guess since Wednesday was named for Oden, Thor’s father, that Thursday was named for Thor. Most of the world knows who Thor is because of the recent movies about him.  He is the Norse god of Thunder and is known for his hammer with which he really causes a lot of thunder.  Thursday is Thor’s day.  I really wondered how Thor’s day could correspond to Jueves in Spanish and Joi in Romanian, but it does.  The people who speak Latin languages named Thursday after the Roman god of lightening and thunder.  His name was Jupiter or Jove.  Have you ever heard the expression, “By Jove! You’ve got it!” ?  He was the supreme Roman god, equivalent to the Greek god, Zues who many people have heard of. This is also completely different than Korean and Japanese.

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Next, we go on to Friday.  In English, this day is named after Freya, The Tuetonic goddess of love and beauty or Frigga, the wife of Oden, the Norse goddess of love and beauty.  The name means “free.”  Freya is also the goddess of procreation.  In Spanish and Romanian, the day has the same meaning, but a different name.  In Spanish, Viernes, and in Romanian, Vineri.  The name of Friday in these Latin languages comes from Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty, the same meaning as English, but a different name. Each chose the goddess from their part of the world.  in the Latin languages, Friday is Venus’ day. Again, it is not the same as Korean and Japanese.

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Lastly, we get to Saturday.  In English, Spanish, and Romanian, this day is named after Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture.  Some know him as Cronos or Titan.  He was the father of Zues or by the Roman name, Jupiter.  He is considered the father of all the gods, and Zues or Jupiter, his son, took his place. We can see “Saturn” when we see “Saturday” easily. In Spanish, the name of Saturday is Sabado, and in Romanian it is Simbata. Both of these names are supposed to come from Saturn.  All these are names for the same day named after Saturn or Cronos, the very first god. Some say he is the earth, and if so, Saturday would have the same meaning as the Korean and Japanese names for Saturday, earth day.

As you can see, the European names for the days of the week are much more religious than the Oriental names of the days of the week.  A couple are almost the same, but the rest of the days of the week of European languages all come with a religious reference.


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