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In English the days of the week are, in order,

The English names for the days of the week derive from the Anglo-Saxon deities stemming from the indigenous pantheon of the Anglo-Saxons. An exception to this is Saturday, which takes its name from the Roman deity Saturn. To varying extents, most regions with dominant Germanic languages practice a similar naming convention, basing most of their week days in recognition of their native Germanic deities.

Saturday and Sunday are commonly called the weekend and are days of rest and recreation in most western cultures. The other five days are then known as weekdays. Friday and Saturday are the days of rest in Muslim and Jewish cultures, respectively. The biblical Sabbath lasts from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.

In many countries, including most of Europe, Asia, and South America, Monday is held to be the first day of the week. The traditional view, still prevailing in the English language, holds Sunday to be the first day of the week. This comes from the original astronomical definition of the week, and traveled through Jewish culture and the Church.

The international standard ISO 8601 defines Monday as the first day of the week, making Sunday the seventh.

Origins of the week[]

Various sources point to the seven day week originating in ancient Babylonia or Sumer, with the planetary week originating in Hellenistic Egypt. It has been suggested that a seven day week might be much older, deriving from early human observation that there are seven celestial objects (the five visible planets plus the Sun and the Moon) which move in the night sky relative to the fixed stars.[1] In any event, a seven day week based on heavenly luminaries eventually diffused both East and West, to the Romans via the Greeks, and to the Japanese via Manicheans, Indians and Chinese.

The earliest known reference in Chinese writings is attributed to Fan Ning, who lived in the late 4th century, while diffusions via India are documented with the writings of the Chinese Buddhist monk Yi Jing and the Ceylonese or Central Asian Buddhist monk Bu Kong of the 8th century. The Chinese transliteration of the planetary system was soon brought to Japan by the Japanese monk Kobo Daishi; surviving diaries of the Japanese statesman Fujiwara Michinaga show the seven day system in use in Heian Period Japan as early as 1007. In Japan, the seven day system was kept in use (for astrological purposes) until its promotion to a full-fledged (Western-style) calendrical basis during the Meiji era.

The seven day week is known to have been unbroken for almost two millennia via the Alexandrian, Julian, and Gregorian calendars. The date of Easter Sunday can be traced back through numerous computistic tables to an Ethiopic copy of an early Alexandrian table beginning with the Easter of 311 as described by Otto Neugebauer in Ethiopic astronomy and computus. Only one Roman date with an associated day of the week exists from the first century and it agrees with the modern sequence, if properly interpreted (see below). Jewish dates with a day of the week do not survive from this early period.


The week as we know it was introduced around the 1st century. It gradually replaced the 8-day Roman nundinal cycle previously in use, and became fully integrated into the calendar (through Christianity) by order of Constantine I in AD 321. The order of the days was explained by Vettius Valens and Dio Cassius (and Chaucer gave the same explanation in his Treatise on the Astrolabe). According to these authors, it was a principle of astrology that the heavenly bodies presided, in succession, over the hours of the day. The Ptolemaic system asserts that the order of the heavenly bodies, from the farthest to the closest to the Earth, is: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. (This order was first established by the Greek Stoics.)

If the first hour of a day is dominated by Saturn (Saturn), then the second hour is dominated by Jupiter (Jupiter), the third by Mars (Mars), and so on, so that the sequence of planets repeats every seven hours. Therefore, the twenty-fifth hour, which is the first hour of the following day, is dominated by the Sun; the forty-ninth hour, which is the first hour of the next day, by the Moon. Thus, if a day is labelled by the planet which dominates its first hour, then Saturn's day is followed by the Sun's day, which is followed by the Moon's day, and so forth, as shown below.

According to Vettius Valens, the first hour of the day began at sunset, which follows Greek and Babylonian convention. He also states that the light and dark halves of the day were presided over by the heavenly bodies of the first hour of each half. This is confirmed by a Pompeian graffito which calls February 6, 60 a Sunday, even though by modern reckoning it is a Wednesday. Thus this graffito used the daylight naming convention of Valens whereas the nighttime naming convention of Valens agrees with the modern astrological reckoning, which names the day after the ruler of the first daylight hour.

These two overlapping weeks continued to be used by Alexandrian Christians during the fourth century, but the days in both were simply numbered 1-7. Although names of gods were not used, the week beginning on Wednesday was named in Greek ton theon ([day] of the gods), as used by the late fourth-century editor of the Easter letters of Bishop Athanasius, and in a table of Easter dates for 311–369 that survives in an Ethiopic copy. These overlapping weeks are still used in the Ethiopic computus. Each of the days of the week beginning on Sunday is called a "Day of John" whereas each of the days of the week beginning on Wednesday is called a "tentyon", a simple transcription of the Greek ton theon.

Hour: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Luminary → name
Day 1 Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Saturn → Saturday
Day 2 Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn


Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Sun → Sunday
Day 3 Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Moon → Monday
Day 4 Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mars → Tuesday
Day 5 Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Mercury → Wednesday
Day 6 Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars


Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Jupiter → Thursday
Day 7 Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Venus → Friday
File:Weekday heptagram.ant.png

Weekday heptagram

The same order can be derived "geometrically" from an acute heptagram, the {7/3} star polygon (as 24 mod 7 = 3). The luminaries are arranged in the same Ptolemaic/Stoic order around the points of the heptagram. Tracing the unicursal line from one planet to the next gives the order of the weekdays.

Aleister Crowley (notwithstanding his mistaken use of the term hexagram) in The Book of Thoth (1944) (Pt. 1, Ch. 1) states that:

It is believed that this neat discovery is due to the late G. H. Frater D.D.C.F.

According to some sources, however, the weekday heptagram is considerably older:

It was with the adoption and widespread use of the seven-day week throughout the Hellenistic world of mixed cultures that this heptagram was created. [2]

First day of the week[]

According to the Bible, God created the Earth in six days, and rested on the seventh day, the Jewish Sabbath, i.e. Saturday. This made Sunday the first day of the week, while Saturdays were reserved for celebration and rest. After the week was adopted in Early Christian Europe, Sunday remained the first day of the week, but also gradually displaced Saturday as the day of celebration and rest, being considered the Lord's Day. In some places Sunday thus came to be viewed as the last day of the week.

The variation is evident from names of the days in some languages — in Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Church Latin and Portuguese, some days are simply called by their number starting from Sunday, e.g. Monday is called "second day" etc. In other languages, like Slavic languages, days are also called after their ordinal numbers, but starting from Monday, making Tuesday the "second day".


For personal names taken from the days of the week, see Akan names.

Germanic languages[]

In English all the days of the week are named after the ruling luminary, with most of the names coming from Germanic deities, such as Wodan (Wednesday) and Thor (Thursday). Sunday and Monday are named directly from the Sun and Moon.

Saturday is the only day named directly after a Roman god, though the Germanic god associated with each day is generally a syncretic calque of the corresponding divinity from the Roman calendar. Other Germanic languages generally follow the same pattern, but Dutch is the only other that preserves all the astronomical names.

Icelandic is notably divergent, maintaining only the Sun and Moon (sunnudagur and mánudagur respectively), while dispensing with the names of the explicitly heathen gods in favor of a combination of numbered days and days whose names are linked to pious or domestic routine (föstudagur, "Fasting Day" and laugardagur, "Washing Day").

Romance languages[]

In most Romance languages, such as Italian, Spanish, French and Romanian, the names of the days except Saturday and Sunday come from Roman gods via Latin. Welsh, the closest living language to that of Roman Britain, faithfully preserves all the Latin names, even though the language itself is not directly descended from Latin. The Roman (Latin) names of the days are still used in some English courts such as the House of Lords.[3].


The early Christian Church was uncomfortable using names based on pagan gods, and introduced a simple numerical nomenclature which persists in some European languages such as Portuguese and Greek, although in Slavic languages the numbering starts on Monday rather than Sunday (anticipating ISO 8601). The Christian names are derived from Hebrew, which numbers all days of the week beginning with "first day" for Sunday but ending with the "Sabbath" for Saturday. Arabic names are also derived from Hebrew, except Friday (the Muslim day of prayer) is named the "gathering day".

Japanese & Korean[]

In Japanese and Korean, Sunday and Monday are named after the Sun and Moon, while the other five days are translated using the names of the five classical planets, which themselves are named using the Five Elements of traditional Chinese philosophy (in a different order). For example, Mercury is called "planet of water" in Japanese and Korean, and Wednesday (Mercury's day in the Romance languages) is called "day of water". These names of days of the week were borrowed from Chinese, but are no longer used in China. These names were not widely used in daily Japanese or Korean life until being adopted during the Korean period as corresponding to the Western terms.


In modern Chinese, days of the week are numbered from one to six, except Sunday. Literally, the Chinese term of Sunday means "the sun day" or "the heaven day" (星期日 or 星期天 in Chinese). Monday is named literally "the first day of the week" in Chinese, Tuesday is the "second", and so on. Despite this form of naming, many Chinese-speaking regions (e.g. China, Hong Kong SAR, etc.), still regard Sunday as the start of the week, putting Sunday at the beginning of the calendar week, and Saturday (星期六, meaning "the sixth day of the week" in Chinese) at the end.

Another Chinese numbering system, found more in spoken Chinese than in written, refers to Sunday as the "day of worship" (礼拜日 or 礼拜天) and numbers the other days "first [day after] worship" (Monday) through "sixth [day after] worship" (Saturday). The Chinese word used for "worship" is associated with Christian and Muslim worship, and the system's use may be connected with the spread of Christianity.


Remnants of the Germanic deities remain in the English language names for days of the week, as (more or less) calques of the Roman names:

  • Sunday: The name Sunday comes from the Old English sunnandæg, meaning "day of the Sun". This is a translation of the Latin phrase dies solis. English, like most of the Germanic languages and several of the Celtic languages, preserves the original pagan/sun associations of the day (an exception being Irish and the languages that come from it, Scottish and Manx); many other European languages, including all of the Romance languages, have changed the name of the day to the equivalent of "the Lord's day" (based on Ecclesiastical Latin dies Dominica). Compare Spanish domingo.
  • Monday: The name Monday comes from the Old English Mōnandæg, meaning "day of the Moon". This is likely based off of a translation of the Latin name dies Lunae (cf. Romance language versions of the name, e.g., French lundi, Spanish, lunes)
  • Tuesday: Tuesday comes from the Old English Tiwesdæg, meaning "Tyr's day." Tyr (in Old English, Tiw, Tew or Tiu) is a Germanic deity in Germanic paganism. The name is based on Latin dies Martis, "Day of Mars" (the Roman war god); compare French mardi and Spanish martes.
  • Wednesday: This name comes from the Old English Wodnesdæg meaning the day of the Germanic god Woden (Wodan), more commonly known as Odin, who was the highest god in Norse mythology, and a prominent god of the Anglo-Saxons (and other places) in England until about the seventh century. It is based on Latin dies Mercurii, "Day of Mercury"; compare French mercredi and Spanish miércoles. The connection between Mercury and Odin is more strained than the other syncretic connections. The usual explanation is that both Odin and Mercury were considered psychopomps, or leaders of souls, in their respective mythologies. Also, in Old Norse myth, Odin, like Mercury, is associated with poetic and musical inspiration.
  • Thursday: The name Thursday comes from the Old English Þunresdæg, meaning the day of Þunor, commonly known in Modern English as Thor, the Germanic god of thunder. It is based on the Latin dies Iovis, "Day of Jupiter"; compare French jeudi and Spanish jueves. In the Roman pantheon, Jupiter was the chief god, who seized and maintained his power on the basis of his thunderbolt (fulmen).
  • Friday: The name Friday comes from the Old English frigedæg, meaning the day of Frige, the Germanic goddess of beauty, who is a later incarnation of the Norse goddess Frigg, but also potentially connected to the Goddess Freyja. It is based on the Latin dies Veneris, "Day of Venus"; compare French vendredi and Spanish viernes. Venus was the Roman god of beauty, love and sex.
  • Saturday: Saturday is the only day of the week to retain its Roman origin in English, named after the Roman god Saturn associated with the Titan Cronos, father of Zeus and many Olympians. In Latin it was dies Saturni, "Day of Saturn"; compare French samedi and Spanish sábado, which comes from sambata dies (day of the Sabbath).

What is different is that the gods in question (except Saturn) do not appear to rule over the planets involved. However, as shown above, they correspond to some extent to Roman gods that rule over the respective planets.


The (suggested) purpose of these tables is to show how far different languages preserve the associations with the ruling luminaries (or not!) and the Church's numbering of the days. (That is, not to list the names in "every" language: Wiktionary entries for the day names offer such lists – click on the links in the header row.)


Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday


Luminary & symbol Sun Sun Moon Moon Mars Mars Mercury Mercury Jupiter Jupiter Venus Venus Saturn Saturn
Latin dies solis dies lunae dies Martis dies Mercurĭi dies Jovis dies Venĕris dies Saturni
Italian domenica (1) lunedì martedì mercoledì giovedì venerdì sabato (2)
Spanish domingo (1) lunes martes miércoles jueves


sábado (2)
Romanian duminică (1) luni marţi miercuri joi vineri sâmbătă (2)
French dimanche (1) lundi mardi mercredi jeudi vendredi samedi (2)
Catalan diumenge (1) dilluns dimarts dimecres


divendres dissabte (2)
Georgian კვირა
šabat'i (2)
Interlingua dominica (1) lunedi martedi mercuridi jovedi venerdi sabbato (2)
Esperanto dimanĉo (1) lundo mardo merkredo ĵaŭdo vendredo sabato (2)
Welsh dydd Sul dydd Llun dydd Mawrth dydd Mercher dydd Iau dydd Gwener dydd Sadwrn
Cornish dy Sul dy Lun dy Meurth dy Mergher dy Yow dy Gwener dy Sadorn
Breton Disul Dilun Dimeurzh Dimerc’her Diriaou Digwener Disadorn
Irish Dé Domhnaigh (1) Dé Luain Dé Máirt Dé Céadaoin Déardaoin Dé hAoine Dé Sathairn
Scots Gaelic

Didòmhnaich (1)

Diluain Dimàirt Diciadain Diardaoin Dihaoine Disàthairne
Manx Jedoonee (1) Jelune Jemayrt Jecrean Jerdrein Jeheiney Jesarn
Old High German sunnuntag mānetag zeistag
Ziu's day
Wodan's day
Donar's day
Freia's day
sambaztag (2)
German Sonntag Montag Dienstag Mittwoch (3) Donnerstag Freitag Samstag (2) or
Dutch zondag
Sun day
Moon day
Thing day
Woden's day
Thunder day
Freia day

Old Norse

Sunna's day
mánandagr tysdagr
Tyr's day
Odin's day
Thor's day
Freyja's day
laugardagr (4)
Norwegian, Bokmål søndag mandag tirsdag onsdag torsdag fredag lørdag (4)
Norwegian, Nynorsk sundag mandag tysdag onsdag torsdag fredag laurdag (4)
Danish søndag mandag tirsdag onsdag torsdag fredag lørdag (4)
Swedish söndag måndag tisdag onsdag torsdag fredag

lördag (4)

Finnish sunnuntai maanantai tiistai keskiviikko (3) torstai perjantai lauantai (4)
Old English sunnandæg
Sunne's day
mōnandæg tiwesdæg
Tiw's day
Woden's day
Thunor's day
Frige's day
Tagalog Linggo (1) Lunes Martes Miyerkules Huwebes Biyernes Sabado (2)
& Hindi
day of Ravi (the Sun)
day of Soma (the Moon)
day of Mangala (Mars)
day of Budha (Mercury)
day of Guru (Jupiter)
day of Shukra (Venus)
day of Shani (Saturn)
Bengali Ravibaar
day of Ravi (the Sun)
day of Soma (the Moon)
day of Mangala (Mars)
day of Budha (Mercury)
day of Brihashpati (Jupiter)
day of Shukra (Venus)
day of Shani (Saturn)
Gujarati રવિવાર
Ravi day
Soma day
Mangala day
Budha day
Guru day
Shukra day
Shani day
Tamil ஞாயிற்று

Nyāyitru day

Thingat day

Sevvāi day

Budhan day

Vyāzha day

Velli day

Shani day
Thai วันอาทิตย์
day of the Sun
(Colour: Red)
day of the Moon
(Colour: Yellow)
day of (planet) Mars
(Colour: Pink)
day of (planet) Mercury
(Colour: Green)
day of (planet) Jupiter
(Colour: Orange)
day of (planet) Venus
(Colour: Blue)
day of (planet) Saturn
(Colour: Purple)
Japanese (5) 日曜日
Sun's day

Moon's day

day of the planet of fire (Mars)
day of the planet of water (Mercury)
day of the planet of wood (Jupiter)
day of the planet of metal (Venus)
day of the planet of earth (Saturn)
Korean (5) 일요일
Sun's day
Moon's day

day of the planet of fire (Mars)

day of the planet of water (Mercury)
day of the planet of wood (Jupiter)
day of the planet of metal (Venus)
day of the planet of earth (Saturn)
Tibetan (5) gza' nyi ma
Sun's day
gza' zla ba
Moon's day
gza' mig mar
day of the planet of fire (Mars)
gza' lhag pa
day of the planet of water (Mercury)
gza' phur bu
day of the planet of wood (Jupiter)
gza' pa sangs
day of the planet of metal (Venus)
gza' spen pa
day of the planet of earth (Saturn)
Luminary & symbol Sun Sun Moon Moon Mars Mars Mercury Mercury Jupiter Jupiter Venus Venus Saturn Saturn
Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Ecclesiastical Latin dominica (1)
(Lord's [Day])
feria secunda
(second weekday)
feria tertia
(third weekday)
feria quarta
(fourth weekday)
feria quinta
(fifth weekday)
feria sexta
(sixth weekday)
sabbatum (2)
Hebrew יום ראשון
(first day)
יום שני
(second day)
יום שלישי
(third day)
יום רביעי
(fourth day)
יום חמישי
(fifth day)
יום שישי
(sixth day)
שבת (2)
Arabic يوم الأحد
(first day)
يوم الإثنين
(second day)
يوم الثُّلَاثاء
(third day)
يوم الأَرْبعاء
(fourth day)
يوم الخَمِيس
(fifth day)
يوم الجُمْعَة
(meeting day)
يوم السَّبْت (2)
(Sabbath day)
Portuguese domingo (1) segunda-feira terça-feira quarta-feira quinta-feira sexta-feira sábado (2)
Greek Κυριακή (1)
("Lord's day")
Σάββατο (2)
Persian یکشنبه
("first day")
("second day")
سه شنبه
("third day")
("fourth day")
("fifth day")

("day of faith")

(from "shabAneh rooz" meaning "night and day")
Vietnamese chủ nhật ("Master's day") or
chúa nhật (1) ("Lord's day")
(ngày) thứ hai
"second (day)"
(ngày) thứ ba
"third (day)"
(ngày) thứ tư
"fourth (day)"
(ngày) thứ năm
"fifth (day)"
(ngày) thứ sáu
"sixth (day)"
(ngày) thứ bảy
"seventh (day)"
Icelandic sunnudagur (6)
("sun day")
mánudagur (6)
("moon day")
("third day")
miðvikudagur (3)
("mid week day")
("fifth day")
("fast day")
laugardagur (4)
("washing day")
Estonian pühapäev
("holy day")
esmaspäev teisipäev kolmapäev ("third") or kesknädal (3) neljapäev ("fourth") reede
(ON friádagr)
laupäev (4)
Polish niedziela
("no work")
("after no-work")
środa (3)
sobota (2)
Czech neděle
("no work")
pondělí (also pondělek)
("after no-work")
úterý (also úterek)
středa (3)
sobota (2)
Slovenian nedelja
("no work")
("after no-work")
(archaic "second")
sreda (3)
sobota (2)
Macedonian недела
("no work")
("after no-work")
среда (3)
сабота (2)
Hungarian vasárnap
("market day")
("head of the week")
szerda (3)
(< Slavic "middle")
(< Slavic "fourth")
(< Slavic "fifth")
szombat (2)
Lithuanian (7) sekmadienis
("seventh day")
("first day")
("second day")
("third day")
("fourth day")
("fifth day")
("sixth day")
Russian воскресенье
("after no-work")
среда (3)
(Standard Mandarin transcription in Hanyu Pinyin)
xīngqī rì
("week: sun")
or 星期天
xīngqí tiān
("week: heaven")
xīngqī yī
("week: one")
xīngqī èr
("week: two")
xīngqī sān
("week: three")
xīngqī sì
("week: four")
xīngqī wǔ
("week: five")
xīngqī liù
("week: six")
ISO 8601 # 7 1 2 3 4 5 6
Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


  1. In Ecclesiastical Latin, the Romance languages, Greek, and the Gaelic languages, Sunday is named after the "Lord", because it is the day of the Resurrection of Jesus.
  2. The Romance languages, Old High German and German, and the Slavic languages have words for Saturday that are derived from the Hebrew Sabbath, via late Greek Sambaton. German also has a second, Christianised name meaning "Eve of Sunday" (parallel to "Christmas Eve", for example). An alternative to the standard Samstag in northern dialects of German is Sonnabend ("Sun-evening").
  3. German and Finnish call Wednesday, prosaically, "mid-week"; Estonian kesknädal is equivalent, with "third day" (kolmapäev) also used; Icelandic uses "mid-week day"; Polish, Russian, etc. have "middle".
  4. Old Norse, Swedish (and other North Germanic languages), and Finnish and Estonian (Finnic languages) call Saturday "washday" or "bathday", as it was the traditional day for washing and bathing.
  5. The Japanese names are the same as the traditional way days of week were named in Chinese. The Korean names are also the same but written in Hangul.
  6. Icelandic sunnudagur and mánudagur are astronomical, persisting presumably because they make no explicit reference to pagan gods.
  7. See Lithuanian calendar.

See also[]


External links[]

Template:Days of the week