The story behind the names of the days of the week | Lexika

The story behind the names of the days of the week

LEXIKA Ciferník17.04.2018 Meet the World with Lexika Reading time: 3 min.
Names of the Days of the week on the small buttons

Have you ever wondered how the days of the week got their names? We use these words every day. They help us use our time. They shine on us from the calendar. They mark holidays and birthdays and help us to plan our work or school activities. The names of the days of the week have their own meaning in every language. Let’s talk about few of them.

The word week refers to a period of seven consecutive days. In European countries, the week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. In some other parts of the world, it runs from Sunday to Saturday. We know from the Bible that the origin of the week goes back to God’s creation of the world because 'on the seventh day God finished the work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day...' The Jews are considered to be the first people to have a week with Saturday being the most important day. It is also well-known that they adopted the concept of the week from the Sumerians and Babylonians. At that time, the names of the days had an astronomical character and were named after the Sun, the Moon, and the five planets that were known back then. The concept of the week was later adopted by the Romans whose week started on Sunday and ended on Saturday. The Romans considered Sunday to be a pagan holiday. The Christians consider it the Lord’s Day and the Day of Rest because Sunday is the day when they celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Names of the days of the week and their meanings across languages

The days of the week repeat constantly. According to a decision made by the United Nations Organisation (UNO) in 1978, Monday is internationally considered to be the first day of the week. This decision also specifies Saturday and Sunday as days of rest. The working days include all days from Monday to Friday.

In English, the names of the days of the week are as follows:

Monday – Moon’s day

Tuesday – God Tyr’s day

Wednesday – God Odin’s (Woden’s) day

Thursday – God Thor’s day

Friday – God Freya’s day

Saturday – God Saturn’s day

Sunday – Sun’s day

Statue of Odin

In other Germanic languages, the names of the days of the week follow a similar pattern half of them go back to the Roman names and half of them to the names of the Germanic gods. In German, for instance, there are the following days of the week:

Montag (Monday)  Moon’s day

Dienstag (Tuesday) – from deus (Latin for god) and Mars – Tuesday

Mittwoch (Wednesday) – the middle of the week – Wednesday

Donnerstag (Thursday) – Thunder God’s Thor day (Donner – thunder) – Thursday

Freitag (Friday)  God Frigg’s (or Freya’s) day Friday

Samstag (Saturday)  God Saturn’s day – Saturday

Sonntag (Sunday) – Sun God’s day – Sunday


In Italian, there are the following days of the week:

Lunedi (Monday)  Luna’s day (Moon’s day)

Martedi (Tuesday)  God Mars’ day

Mercoledi (Wednesday)  God Mercury’s day

Giovedi (Thursday) God Jupiter’s day

Venerdi (Friday) Goddess Venus’ day

Sabato (Saturday) Sabbath

Domenica (Sunday) Lord’s day

To do list

In Greek, the names of the days of the week are similar to those in Hebrew:

Kyriakí  (Sunday)  Lord’s day

Deftéra (Monday)  the second day

Tríti (Tuesday) the third day

Tetárti (Wednesday) – the fourth day

Pémpti (Thursday) the fifth day

Paraskeví (Friday) the day of preparation

Sávvato (Saturday) Sabbath


Names of the days of the week in other European languages:

SlovakPondelok, Utorok, Streda, Štvrtok, Piatok, Sobota, Nedeľa

French: Lundi, Mardi, Mercredi, Jeudi, Vendredi, Samedi, Dimanche

Spanish: Lunes, Martes, Miércoles, Jueves, Viernes, Sábado, Domingo

Finnish: Sunnuntai, Maanantai, Tiistai, Keskiviikko, Torstai, Perjantai, Lauantai

Portuguese: Domingo, Segunda-feira, Terça-feira, Quarta-feira, Quinta-feira, Sexta-feira, Sábado

Hungarian: Hétfő, Kedd, Szerda, Csütörtök, Péntek, Szombat, Vasárnap

Latvian: Pirmdiena, Otrdiena, Trešdiena, Ceturtdiena, Piektdiena, Sestdiena, Svētdiena

Estonian: Esmaspäev, Teisipäev, Kolmapäev, Neljapäev, Reede, Laupäev, Pühapäev

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  1. Tall Oumarou says:

    In fulfulde of Burkina Faso
    Altine = Monday
    Talaata = Tuesday
    Alarba = Wednesday
    Alkamiisa =Thursday
    Aldjouma = Friday
    Assayé = Saturday
    Alan = Sunday
    Sometimes given to people as names

  2. Musa bala says:

    It is true

  3. Elizabeth says:

    The Bible said, first day,second day, third day,fourth day,fifth day,sixth day and seventh day . These were the names given to the days of the week from the begining of creation, And the seventh day is called Sabbath day meaning a day of rest. Anything aside these is from man.

    1. Tanisha says:

      Thank you exactly

  4. Angel Christ says:

    Your question is an impossible one to answer with a specific day as the earliest time of history the day of Sabbath was a floating day as time was controlled by moon phases. When time became measured by the sun, ancient Judaism began to conform to the Sun calendar. As I understand it, Roman rule ( which was highly tolerate of the practices of Judaism) became frustrated with having to accommodate their practices of Sabbath and its ever changing day (in their military forces especially.) Therefore, sundown on Friday (roughly 7pm) became adopted as the beginning of Sabbath which continued until the same time on Saturday. So, if you are going to practice Sabbath as it was “in the beginning” you will have to do so with a lunar calendar and that time and day will subtly change over the course of the year.
    Interestingly, I once read an article in a magazine (I picked up while waiting in a physical therapy office) and it stated that our bodies seem to have a certain rhythm to them. Studies showed that there is one 24 hour period when our rest assists our bodies more fully. That time was…drum roll please…from Friday evening through Saturday. So the article suggested that we nap on Saturdays instead of the often practiced Sunday nap!

  5. jozif kiguta says:

    in Swahili:-
    Sunday- Jumapili
    Monday- Jumatatu
    Tuesday- Jumanne
    Wednesday- Jumatano
    Thursday- Alhamisi
    Friday- Ijumaa
    Saturday- Jumamosi

  6. Kayuma says:

    Sunday is the first day of the week according to the Bible see Luke 23:54-56; 24:1-2 and John 20:1 this is the truth that will set you free. Forsake now worshing the sun than God. He is calling come out of her my people.

  7. Eva says:

    Me I’m still confused… What I want to know is the first day of the week right from the time of Jesus Christ , I want to know the real sabath day that the Lord command us to keep holy

    1. Kayuma says:

      Sabbath is the day sanctified and blessed by God.

    2. Michael says:

      Eva I too am confused. I wonder did God give us the names of the day of the week or did Man? And if Man gave them names When. If Man gave names to the before the great fall (BEFORE Sin was in in the world) then I could hold that as truth.

      But if Man named them after the great fall them Man has fallen and could have gotten it wrong.

      The Bible confuses me I am slow to understand due to being in the spectrum of autism.

  8. Leila mahmoodzadeh says:

    And in persian language they are:
    Shanbeh (for Saturday)
    Yek shanbeh(sunday)
    Doe shanbeh (monday)
    Se shanbeh (tuesday)
    Chair shanbeh (Wednesday)
    Panj shanbeh (Thursday)
    And Jome (friday)
    In Iran : yek means one 1
    Doe means two 2
    Se means three 3
    Chaparral means four 4
    Panj means five 5

  9. James Osei Bonsu says:

    Ghana ( names according to the days)
    Monday- dworda (boy- Kwadwo, girl-Adwoa)
    Tuesday- benada(boy-Kwabena, girl-Abena)
    Wednesday-kukuoda(boy- Kwaku, girl-Akua)
    Thursday-yaworda (boy-Yaw,girl-Yaa)
    Friday-fieda (boy-Kofi, girl-Afia)
    Saturday-memeneda(me ne dea me ne- I AM THAT I AM)-(boy-Kwame, girl-Ama)
    Sunday- kwasieda (boy-Kwasi, girl-Akosua or Akos)

  10. James Osei Bonsu says:

    Greeks deed well. May Almighty God bless them

  11. William Mou Bang says:

    Why did isrealist put the kyriaki as first day that related to Sunday? and kyriaki should be last day if its meaning remains as the day when God bless His work.

    1. Daniel says:

      I am Israeli and a religious Jew. Hebrew does not use those words for the days of the week. Biblical and modern Hebrew use:
      Yom Rishon = First day
      Yom Sheini =second day
      Yom Shlishi=Third day
      Yom Revi’i=Fourth day
      Yom Chamishi=Fifth day
      Yom Shishi=Sixth day
      Yom Shabbat=Sabbath day (often said without “yom”

    2. Michael says:

      I believe Sunday was the first day, therefore Saturday would be the Sabbath. But my question is does the Torah say that God named the days as such. That would validate the correct Sabbath the Holliest day.
      I don’t know that in the Bible it states anything about God giving the days names. So it would seem that man Gave those names to the days in accordance to the English Bible. I just want worship God in the way he intended for his grace gave us Life and the glorious universe and all that is in it.

  12. Meow says:

    Japanese follows this too

    Monday- getsuyoubi (getsu = moon)
    Tuesday- kayoubi (fire)
    Wednesday – suiyoubi (water)
    Thursday – mokuyoubi (wood)
    Friday – kinyoubi (gold)
    Saturday- doyoubi (earth)
    Sunday – nichiyoubi (sun)

    Gold for example correspond with Venus (the planet is called kinsei), fire corresponds with Mars (planet is kasei), etc.

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