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

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


Hi. I’m Gill at www.engvid.com, and today we’re going to be
looking at the days of the week and the origin of the names of the days,
which are obviously different in different languages, but in the English language, the
days, a lot of them, apart from the sun and the moon, a lot of the days are named after
gods. Not… Not god, not the Christian god, but before Christianity came to the UK or to
Britain, we had these… It’s called pagan gods. “Pagan” just means before Christianity.
So, there were these not just one god, but a group of gods, and a goddess as well, a
female god. And the days were named after them. Okay. So let’s have a look through the
days of the week and I’ll tell you all about how the day got its name. Okay. So, this goes
back hundreds of years, so that’s why it’s a little strange. So, “Sunday”, the main religious day in the
Christian world, but before Christianity in the pagan times, Sunday-obviously, “sun”-was named
after the sun. Sun’s Day. Because, obviously, you look up into the sky and the sun is the
brightest thing there, and it keeps you warm and all of that, so everyone knew the sun was
very important for human life to survive, so they named the first day of the week after
the sun. Sun’s Day. And just to make a link, here, with the German language because we share a
lot of similar words with the German language: “Sonntag”, so in German as well, the sun…
The word for “sun” in German is in the name of the German word for Sunday.
Okay. Right, so that’s Sunday, Sun’s Day, the day dedicated to the sun. Next day: “Monday”. It’s not totally obvious,
but it’s named after the moon. Moon. “Mon”, “moon”, so there’s a little moon. And again,
because the sun, most important and then after that you look up in the sky at night and you
see the moon, so it’s like the second most important thing that you see. So, Moon’s Day,
Monday. And in German: “Montag”, so that’s the moon in German. But also, the example
from French because in French the word for “moon” is “lune”, “la lune”, so in French,
again, the day is named after the moon and it’s called “lundi”. So even in French, which
has a different word, it’s still connected with the moon. Okay. Right, so that’s the sun and the moon
for the first two days of the week. Now, this is where it gets interesting. “Tuesday”
is named after one of the pagan gods called Tiu, T-i-u. Tiu’s Day. Okay? And he came from
the sort of North European group of gods. Okay? And Tiu was the god of war. He represented
war or… And the god of the sky, generally. And the link, here, with the Southern European
gods which come mostly from the Roman gods. So, the French name for Tuesday, and the French
words come from the southern group of gods, the Roman god of war is Mars. Okay? Like the
planet… There’s also a link with the planets, and that’s the red planet, Mars. So, in French,
Tuesday is called “mardi” because it’s linked to Mars. So, in the northern group of gods
we have Tiu’s Day and he’s the god of war, and in the southern group of gods we have
mardi, Mars, and Mars is also the god of war in the Southern European gods.
Okay. Whoops, sorry. Right. Moving on: “Wednesday”, which is always a
tricky one to spell, difficult to spell. It’s Wed-nes-day, but we pronounce it: “Wensday”.
That’s named after Woden. Woden’s Day. Okay? And Woden was the sort of chief god in charge
of all the other gods. He was the top god. Woden’s Day. Okay. In the southern group of
gods, in French, Wednesday is “mercredi”, which is named after Mercury. But in this
case, Mercury is not the equivalent of Woden. So, sorry, that’s a bit not very… Anyway,
that’s the way it goes. We can’t change it. “mercredi” in French is named after Mercury,
who was the messenger god. Okay. And again, there’s a planet named after Mercury as well.
So, anyway, Northern European, Woden’s Day. Wednesday. Right. Moving on to “Thursday” which is named after
Thor. Thor’s Day. Thursday. And I’ve put these little… That’s not thunder. It’s the god
of thunder. When there’s a storm, the sound of the thunder. This is the flash of light
from the lightning, but you get thunder and lightning when there’s a storm, the noise and
the light flashing. So, Thor is the northern god of thunder. Okay? And in German, “Donnerstag”,
“donner” means thunder in German. So, in German that day is also named after the god of thunder.
Okay. Thor’s Day. In the Southern European names it’s named after Jove. Jove, who is the
equivalent of Thor, because Jove is also… Also has thunder and lightning. He causes
the thunder and the lightning. So, Jove. In French, the day is called “jeudi”, “jeudi”,
which comes from Jove. Okay. So, Thursday, Thor’s Day. Now, you’d be wondering: Where are all the…?
All the female gods, the goddesses? So, at last we have one, just one in the whole group of
seven, so fairly typical of women’s equality. A token woman. Okay. “Friday”, Freya’s Day.
So, Freya, I think she’s like the wife of the chief god, but she represents love, being
the wife of the chief god. And in German, again, “Freitag”, so in German as well, Friday
is named after Freya, the northern goddess of love. And similarly, in the Southern European
group, Venus. So, Venus, the goddess of love, the Roman goddess of love is the equivalent of
Freya, Venus. We also have a planet, again, named after Venus. And in French: “vendredi”
is sort of vaguely like the name Venus, so there is a link again there between the
northern and the southern version. Okay, so Freya’s Day, Friday. And finally: “Saturday”. Saturn’s Day. Okay?
Now, this time it’s not a Northern European god. It’s a Roman god, because the Romans actually
came to Britain. This probably influenced the naming of the day. The Romans were in Britain
for a certain length of time and influenced some of the things. So, it’s Saturn was the
Roman god of agriculture and maybe various other things. Roman god of agriculture, and
also, again, there’s a planet, Saturn, the one with the rings around it. Okay?
So, Saturn’s Day. Saturday. Okay, so I hope that’s helped you to understand
why the days of the week are named like that, and also to understand
a little bit of the cultural historical background to how
they came to be named like that. Okay? So, if you’d like to go
to the website, www.engvid.com, there’s a quiz there that
you can do on this subject. And if you’ve enjoyed
this lesson, perhaps you’d like to subscribe
to my YouTube channel. And I hope to see you again soon.
Thanks for listening. Bye.

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100 thoughts on “Where do the names of the days of the week come from?

  1. But they all mean the same according to Hindu culture.
    At least Sunday and Monday and Saturday I know for sure.
    Sunday called ravivar and Ravi means sun and vaar means day
    Monday means somvaar and some means moon and vaar means day
    Saturday means shanivaar and Shani means Saturn and day means waar
    And also Friday means Venus means shukrawaar that is shukra means Venus
    Actually all the days of week are named after planets and satellites in the sky.

  2. Great lesson. It all makes sense. Only question I have is, why is it that in Spanish, Sunday is called Domingo. All of the other days in Spanish correlate to this, like Monday -Saturday in Spanish is lunes martes miercoles jueves viernes y sabado. I just don’t understand how Domingo is Sunday

  3. Thursday in French is Jeudi because of Jupiter. Jupiter in Rome is equivalent to Zeus in Greece, who was the God of Thunder.

  4. There's only one day out of the seven weekdays that is named after a female, but that day named after female is the day everyone loves (TGIF) 🙂

  5. I would recommend all of you to read once reasons for naming of days as per Vedic Astrology of India (Indian Calender i.e. Vikram Samvat). It is the most scientific reason. It is related to planets of solar system depending on their distance from Sun.

  6. everything comes from babylon .. look into DNA altering + Altered inteligent +genesis 6 + days of the week / names of planets / etc / all comes from babylon .. the world is in the final stage .. clay mixed with iron .. derived from the babylonian empire => also sun worship etc .. hollidays are all from babylon too .. look into samiramez tammuz and nimrod trinity .. many names for the same 3 persons => osiris = nimrod / isis = semiramis / horus = tammuz => look into king nebucanezers dream exlained bye daniel , from old testament.. good video

  7. Is there one on the months and how January and February were the lasted to be added? And why September , October and December are no longer the 7th, 8th and 10th months but are the 9th, 10th and 12th months respectively?

  8. I think to have read that frigga's day is friday not freya's day. frigga is the goddess of love, marriage, sex, fertility harvest, etc. ; freya the goddess of lust, sex, fertility, etc.. slight, but important distinction. Also: Frigga is Odin's wife.

  9. Yes, your explanations are fantastic. Even Jove is a planet, in Latin is called Iuppiter (Iovis is his genitive) and gave the name to planet Jupiter. In Latin too Saturday was Dies Saturni (Saturn's day) and Sunday was Dies Solis (sun's day), only later they became Sabbatum (from Jewish Shabbāt) and Dies Domini (Lord's day).

  10. In spanish it is pretty similar, the days of the week are: Lunes (wich came from "luna" or moon), Martes (from mars, god of the war), miércoles (from Mercury), jueves (Jupiter), Viernes (Venus), Sábado (I think this one is related with the sabbath, but it originally whas the day of Saturn), and finally Domingo, or the day of the lord (dominus = lord), all of them came from the latin and the roman's gods.

  11. It is strange how far the connexions can go, even with languages that have similar nomenclatures but those names are not linguistical cognates. Here in Aotearoa, in New Zealand Māori (or te reo as Māori and Pakeha (Northern European white man) call their language) their god of war is called Tūmatauenga which means Tū of the Angry Face. The New Zealand army is called Ngati Tūmatauenga or People or Tribe of Tū of the Angry Face. So, our Anglo Saxon Tiw has an occidental Polynesian counterpart of the same order (or disorder) of bellicosity who is called Tū.

  12. ชอบบทเรียนของคุณมากเพราะเวลาฟังคุณสอนสามารถดูหนังสือตามคำสอนไปด้วยได้มีประโยชน์มากเลยครับ
    ขอบคุณมากครับ

  13. Lot,s of respect and love from india. Thanku Miss gill lot of love from my side.. stay happy Teacher. and always teach us with your intresting video. Thnkyou

  14. Sunday and Monday can also be considered to be named after gods, as the two celestial bodies were considered gods by the Romans, who gave us the seven days of the week. Sol for the god of the Sun and luna for the moon. The Latin name for Monday was Luna-Day (or something close to that) and when the seven-day week was adopted by the Proto-Germanic speakers, they transcribed the god-day names, replacing the Roman gods with (somewhat) equivalent Germanic gods…so Luna-Day became Mani Dagos, over time becoming Man Dag and then Monday (or Montag in German). There were not always germanic gods like the Roman ones, for example Woden and Mercury. And Saturday is the one example where they just kept the Roman god, because there was no similar germanic god like him.

  15. Hay maestros y maestros, pero usted es una artesana de la enseñanza , es un gusto aprender con usted. Doy las gracias ; no la tuteo porque usted merece el mayor de los respeto y ademas es de otra raza 🙏🏻 es brillante como un sol

  16. Yo la escucho a usted y después escucho a las asistentes de vuelos cuando parlanchean por los micrófonos y es para la risa

  17. Seems like the pagan gods got a big head start over the three major religions by being there first and naming the months of the year, and days of the week. Sorry religious follows better luck next time around if there is a next time.

  18. Thanks Gill, your class is full joy, enthusiasm , and innovation.This class was a great idea for to teach and sametime give my students a bit of culture.Blessing

  19. I'm glad she apologised about Woden not being anything to do with Mercury, because it really messes me up. And I still don't know if Samdi has any thing to do with Saturn.
    But it is a good video very informative, and I did press the like button!

  20. My best regards to Ma'am Gill. Thanks a lot for the narration of the words with right etymological sense. I treasure every knowledge you share. The class gives the chance for shortening the shortfalls. In other words, your teaching upgrades our linguistic wisdom. It is quite interesting to learn English from native speakers like you, as it provides us the chance to comprehend the language with its native elements and texture. For an Asian like me is need to be more conscience to understand the pronunciation and accent of the native speakers. But, the manner of articulation by Gill Ma'am is significantly listener's friendly, as it is truly enabling us to grasp the trills, fricatives and other phonetic elements in her every utterances. Learning English from Gill is a wonderful experience and it would definitely take one from joy to joy. May God continue to bless you and your family with all good things in the life. Great.

  21. I don't think they really cared how many females the days were named after but the way the world is going, what terrifies me is that they will change hundreds of years of history just to tick some boxes.

  22. Wednesday, Woden's day. Woden is probably more known by his norse name, Odin.
    Funny how English have four Norse God's to name the days of the week. (Makes me as an Scandinavian happy.)

  23. A few points. Jove is also referring to a planet, the planet Jupiter. Friday is named after Frigg, wife of Odin, not Freyja.

  24. I thought that Thursday, in Spanish from Latin is " jueves " and it comes from Jupiter 🤷🏼‍♀️, will Google "Jove "

  25. Who like me just noticed that WODEN'S DAY is ODIN in OE (Old English spelling I think…), in fact the Chief God for North-European pagan gods (Or just simply Norse gods) was Odin!

  26. In spanish, Italian and French the only exceptions to gods names are Saturday and Sunday. We use "sábado"(in spanish) for Saturday and it doesn't make reference to a god, but to the Latin word "sabbătum" that means to rest. Because Saturday was the 7th day in the Christian week and it is stated in the Bible as the only day for resting. "Domingo" for Sunday, is derived from the word "dominico" that means "the day of the Lord".
    I love your lessons Gill!

  27. Origin of the days 
    Sunday- Latin 
    Monday- Anglo-Saxon 
    Tuesday- Old Norse (Vikings) 
    Wednesday– Old Norse 
    Thursday– Old Norse 
    Friday– Old Norse 
    Saturday– Latin 
    Names of Scandinavian Gods
    Tuesday
    This day was named after the Norse god Tyr– God of war
    Wednesday
    The day named to honour Wodan (Odin– Supreme God)
    Thursday
    The day named after the Norse god Thor. In the Norse languages this day is called Torsdag. 
    Friday
    The day in honor of the Norse goddess Frigg.
    In Old High German this day was called frigedag. 
    To the Romans this day was sacred to the goddess Venus,

  28. English Tiu and German Donner are different gods. Tiu in German is Ziu. Donner in English is Thunor.

  29. "I'll also explain how these names relate to the French…" to Latin, then also to French, but also Spanish, Italian, etc. 9.40 "it is sort of vaguely like the name Venus…". Explanation: Venus is the nominative, but Veneris is the genitive ( of Venus), this explains better why "vendredi" (in French) or Venerdi (in Italian): di= day + veneris(of Venus). I hope it helps to understand better the relation.

  30. In south Europe Jove was the chief of the gods. It might resemble Thor but the last one wasn't actually in charge for the Vikings.

  31. I'd like to add two things only.

    Sunday is "Domenica" in my native language, Italian.
    It should come from "Domus", which is the Latin name for lord. So it is the "day of the lord" in Italian.

    About Thursday, the Italian for it is Giovedì. In French, as you said, it's Jeudi, and to said it comes from the god Jove.
    I want to add here that the planet Jupiter is Giove in Italian. Also, the god is named Giove. So, at least for Italian, there's this extra link between the day of the week Giovedì and the planet Giove.

  32. Hi Gill. I'm an English learner from the south of France. I adore your accent. Your lessons are so interesting. Congratulations and thank you very much.

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