Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Days & Months of Our Lives

Q. Where did we get the names for the days of the week and for the 12 months?

A. All the days of the week were named after Germanic gods or cosmic objects.

  • Sunday: the day of the sun.
  • Monday: the day of the moon.
  • Tuesday: the day of the war god Tiu.
  • Wednesday: the day of Woden, swift messenger god.
  • Thursday: the day of Thor, lord of the sky.
  • Friday: the day of Frig, goddess of love.
  • Saturday: the day of Saturn, god of agriculture.

There are some matching problems with the names of the months, and you can blame the Romans for that. Since they had 10 months in their calendar and we have 12, there are now some inconsistencies permanently built into the names of the last four months of the year.
  • January: named for the god Janus, god of gates, doorways, and
    beginnings in general.
  • February: the month of purification, the name taken from the
    Latin februa, expiatory offerings.
  • March: named for Mars, the god of war.
  • April: named for Aprhrodite the goddess of love and beauty.
  • May: named for the goddess Maia, the mother of Hermes.
  • June: named for Juno, the goddess of women, marriage, childbirth,
    and the moon.
  • July: named for Julius Caesar.
  • August: named for Augustus Caesar.
  • September: the 7th month in the Roman calendar [septem = seven].
  • October: the 8th month in the Roman calendar [octo = eight].
  • November: the 9th month in the Roman calendar [novem = nine].
  • December: the 10th month in the Roman calendar [decem = ten].

Brief History of the Calendar

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