Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2444 Washingday

One Wednesday a friend and I called it "hump day."  My friend had spent some time in Germany and, as I had taken some German classes, we discussed how the practical German language referred to Wednesday as Mittwoch.  That translates quite nicely into midweek.

The word Wednesday, it turns out, is from Norse origins.  It's a permutation of Wodansday.  Wodan being the king of all Norse gods.  Interestingly, he's not the only Norse god in our weekly line-up.

There's also Tuesday, which comes from the Old English Tiw, spelled T-i-w-.  But which originally came from the Norse god Tyr.  Tyr was a one-handed god associated with exhausting single combat.  Maybe that's why we use the term tired to say we're worn out.

Thursday comes from the Norse god Thor.  He of thunder-flinging, hammer-wielding, and Marvel Comics fame.  I think for some reason he's also the patron god of carpenters.

Friday comes from the Norse god Freya.  It was also the name for Venus in the Scandinavian languages.  She was the Nordic goddess of beauty and love, and the origin of the phrase, "Thank Goddess it's Friday."

Sunday we revert to English, but it was Sonntag in German, which was Sunnudagr in Norse.  Any way it's named after the sun.

Monday and moon day likewise. 

Odd that while many of our English words come from our German origins, suddenly when it comes to days of the week we revert to the language of Vikings.

Even weirder that on Saturday we completely shift gears. Saturday is named after the Roman god Saturn. He was the father of Jupiter, the king of the gods in the Roman pantheon. 

Perhaps it's because the Norse word for Saturday is laugerdagr, which means, literally, washing day.

Guess the Vikings could be practical too. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

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