Roman Gods index

Names of the Days 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. 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 LŲrdag or LÝrdag. 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!

EnglishSaxon
MondayMona
TuesdayTiu
WednesdayWoden
ThursdayThor
FridayFreya
Saturday---
SundaySunne
Title of God
The Moon
God of War
The Cunning God
Thunder God
Goddess of Love
God of Time
The Sun
RomanFrench
MoonLundi
MarsMardi
MercuryMercredi
JoveJeudi
VenusVendredi
SaturnSamedi
SunDimanche

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.