I’ve not given much thought to the names of the days of the week. Have you?
Over the past few years, however, I’ve had a growing displeasure with the names we use.
Do you know that most of these names honor various gods?
Sunday is named after the Roman sun god (though in Spanish and Italian, it is the Lord’s day: Domingo and Domenica). Monday is named for the moon god. Tuesday is named for the Danish god Tyr, the Germanic god of war, Tiu, or in other languages, the Roman god of war, Mars (Spanish, Martes; Italian, Martedi). Wednesday is named after the Norse god Odin (also called Woden’s). Thursday is named for the Nordic god Thor. Friday is Freya’s day, the goddess of love, or Venus’s day, the Roman goddess of love, in other languages (Viernes in Spanish and Venerdi in Italian). In English, Saturday is named after Saturn, the Roman god of time. However, in other languages Saturday is named after the Jewish sabbath (Sabado in Spanish and Sabato in Italian).
For a nice summary, see here.
The Quakers objected to using the names of pagan gods for days of the week. So they would typically use numbers: the first day, the second day, the third day, the fourth day, the fifth day, the sixth day, and the seventh day.
The Jewish people in Israel follow that same practice: Yom Rishon, Yom Sheni, Yom Shlishi, Yom Revii, Yom Chamishi, Yom Shishi, and Yom Shabbat. Rishon means first. Sheni means second. Shlishi means third, and so on.
Maybe we should do that. Lord’s day, second day, third day, fourth day, fifth day, sixth day, seventh day.
We could assign key theological concepts instead of numbers: Lord’s day, Rapture day, Bema day, Kingdom day, Glory day, Praise day, Sabbath day. i
I make up a daily to-do list. About two years ago, after I started thinking about these issues, I changed how I do it. For example, at the top of my sheet today I have “8.5.23” which is the 8th day of the 5th month in 2023. (That is the European way of writing dates, with the day of the month rather than the month first.) Before this, I would have written “Monday, May 5, 2023.”ii
Next time we will consider the pagan origins of the months of the year.
i Sabbath means seventh.
ii I still use the regular names for the days when talking to people since there is no universal agreement on what the first day of the week is. If I referred to the fourth day, some would think I was talking about Thursday, and others would think of it as Wednesday.