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Days of the week and their origins

Days of the week and their origins

Do you find it difficult to get up on Monday mornings?

What is your favourite day of the week?

Where do the names of the days of the week come from?

In English, we call our days of the week after Saxon gods, apart from Saturday. For instance, the French call their days of the week after Roman gods. But the Saxon and Roman gods who look after the same day are the same type of god.

The English ‘Saturday’ is called after a Roman god, not a Saxon one. In Scandinavia, the word for Saturday is Lördag or Lørdag. It is an ancient word meaning “bath”. Apparently the Vikings took one bath a week and it was on Saturday, so they called it “bath day”. Perhaps the Saxons didn’t like baths, so they preferred to use the Roman day name!


English Saxon
Monday Mona
Tuesday Tiu
Wednesday Woden
Thursday Thor
Friday Freya
Saturday ——-
Sunday Sunne
Title of God
The Moon
God of War
The Cunning God
Thunder God
Goddess of Love
God of Time
The Sun
Roman French
Moon Lundi
Mars Mardi
Mercury Mercredi
Jove Jeudi
Venus Vendredi
Saturn Samedi
Sun Dimanche

The Roman months were the same as ours, but the weeks were not. The Romans had eight days in their week, with a market day instead of a weekend, so they didn’t use these names. Eventually, the Roman empire became Christian, and the Christians did have a seven day week, with the seventh, Sunday, being a holy day. The Romans seem to have named the days of the week after the planets, sun and moon.

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