Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The days of the week

Another product of my non-productive curiosity is the reason for the names of the days of the week. I mean I can understand that Sunday is probably Sun's day and Monday is probably Moon's day as is Saturday Saturn's day. But, where do Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday come from?

All these four days are named of the Germanic Gods. Thanks to the recent spate of myth-based movies, people seem rather familiar with Thor and Loki at least. Well! Tuesday is named after Tiu (or Tyr) the Germanic God of war. Wednesday is Woden's day (Woden is Odin) named after the Germanic king of Gods. Thor is, of course, the God for whom Thursday - Thor's day - is named. Friday is Freya's day - the Venus-equivalent in Germanic lore.

There is almost identity in the planets after which the days are named in India as well. Sunday is named after the Sun; Monday after the moon and Tuesday is based on Mars in India as well - as is Friday named after Venus and Saturday after Saturn. The Germanic lore differentiates between the King of Gods (Odin) and the Thunderer (Thor) - so, it could be assumed that Woden is Mercury and Thor is Jupiter which would be identical to Indian names for those days. At best, these two days have been inter-changed.

By the way, I knew of all this even when the Internet was not even a blip on the horizon so I owe nothing to Google for this information. In fact, there is a whole lot of interesting words for which the roots are in myth, which I explored in an earlier post - Etymology and Mythology.

For example why is January January or May May? That, as school teachers are wont to say, is beyond the scope of the current syllabus!

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st - 7th September 2013

74 comments:

  1. January I know is named after Janus, the two faced God, the one who has one face towards the past year and the other face towards the next year.

    Nice post...though am surprised that you didn't connect Thursday to Guru...

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    1. I was talking of the English names, Mahabore! And Guru in India is Jupiter.

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  2. Interesting to know how the days got their names. By the way do you have trivia on Greek Mythology. I am pretty interested in that. So looking forward to more :)

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    1. A lot of that trivia is in that link "Etymology and Mythology".

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  3. I did have this curiosity once, but I let it die!

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  4. Thanks Suresh for the pre-Google enlightenment. In fact, a lot of truth exists beyond Google!

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    1. All of Google enlightenment needs to come from outside Google - except where it is ABOUT Google :)

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  5. Trust you to come up with something like this. Mythology and Etymology are two of my favourite topics (not that I delve much but still).

    Joy always,
    Susan

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  6. Interesting. I am curious, do the Southern and Northern Indian languages have similar names as well? Sun for Sunday, Moon for Monday etc?

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  7. This is interesting. Never pondered over such things. Thanks for enlightening! :)

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    1. Good to know I have something to enlighten people with :)

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  8. Interesting!!... M going to your Etymology and mythology link now...

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  9. Very informative post! Greek mythology, being one of the oldest, is full of stories, which are stunning.

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    1. And the number of words they contributed to the language!

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  10. Very interesting read indeed, Sir.

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  11. i had my brush with etymology when my elder one was preparing for his spell-bee contests and word origins was one of the rounds....and like u said, a huge chunk of words owe their origin to the greek...

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    1. This lot was German - the Graeco-Roman myth is ubiquitous in the English language

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  12. "as school teachers are wont to say, is beyond the scope of the current syllabus!" - Well, I know who to contact to get my answers to mythological/etymological confusions. I'll end up saving a lot of Mr. Google's time, and mine! :)

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  13. Very informative post. I did not know why days of the week are called what they're called.

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    1. Good to know I did contribute something of interest

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  14. Enjoyed your post. I am also interested in mythology.

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  15. Never thot abt the secrets behind the naming of days . This is atleast more interesting than the reasons why people are given so and so names ;)

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    1. Ah! It is fun digging into words, Afshan - a lot of the words had stories behind them - some of which I hv indicated in that other piece

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  16. A very informative and interesting post, thanks for sharing.I trust Google to provide me with all the answers :)

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    1. Haan! But sometimes you do not ask the questions of google :)

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  17. My earlier comment vanished right in front of my eyes, or was it saved for moderation?

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    1. Yes - Comment moderation is on. Otherwise people start selling Viagara in my comments :)

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  18. As usual, an enlightening article!!!

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  19. I knew about Tuesday and Thursday as I am thursaday born and my brother is tuesday ... before starting up a fight we used to should 'God of Lightening' will take down the god of war :D

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    1. With the poor King of the Gods stuck in between? :)

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  20. Informative ...


    jasmeet
    emotestar.blogspot.com

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  21. Oh I thought they were named after Tears(Tuesday) , Waste(Wednesday) , Thirst(Thursday) , Fun(Friday).(wink)
    But on serious note, Thank you very much for brushing my knowledge……Indeed very informative.

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  22. It's fun reading and happy to say you enlightened me on the meaning of days of the week. Following you on the other blog and a big THANK U for this super cool post:)

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  23. This was really interesting. I didn't know the half of this!! Very cool and fun post.

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  24. I have never ever bothered to research on the topic. Thank you for enlightening me... :)

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  25. Really interesting post. Enjoyed reading it.

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  26. This is beyond the scope of my syllabus. :)

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  27. Quite informative. I did know quite a few things but a quick refresher is always good :)

    Richa

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  28. I had no clue about tuesday andother days.

    Glad to increase my vocab.
    thanks, suresh

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    1. Great to find that I wrote something useful, Ruchira

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  29. That was an interesting and an informative read.

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  30. Wonderful and informative. I love your topics!
    Penny
    http://pennymcdanielspiritualguidance.blogspot.com

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  31. Informative post...the best part is, the information does not come from the search engines, but from your own reference work... great!!!

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  32. i am getting curious to know what you are curious about next, liked your relative analysis and we Indians almost have all of our answers in the Panchang and Bhagvad Gita

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    1. Well - your curiosity gets satisfied sooner these days since I am on a post-a-day mode till 7th :)

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  33. Tuesday was the new one for me. I always thought Odin or Thor was the God of War.

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    1. Tyr it is - also known as Tiu (that second I learnt only when the chap who enlightened me on days of the week told me it was Tiu's day :) )

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  34. This is awesome.
    I never knew all this...today,I am feeling like Lord Budhha......enlightened

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  35. Now that last question must be coming from my elder one's mouth ...but indeed why ???

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    1. Those answers are in Etymology and Mythology - that is why :)

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