Archive for July 31st, 2008

Monday through Friday, pen and ink and rubber stamps on graph paper, collage © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Such an ordinary thing. Days of the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on.

Each has its own significance.

Monday can be tough because it starts the work week for most people. Tuesday is the day before Hump Day. Wednesday, Hump Day. My daughter says Thursday is the best weekday day, and I somehow know what she means although I can’t explain it. Thank God it’s Friday. Then, woo-hoo, it’s the weekend. And let’s not forget, Saturday or Sunday is holy day for many. Finally we start over, which sometimes causes a case of Sunday night blues.

No wonder we get so tired out each week.

There’s also the matter of unlucky days. Friday the 13th in some parts of the world — watch out. You’re liable to use your denture cream for hair gel. Yet, when I lived in Spain, Thursday the 13th was the unlucky day. Which was a real pain, because as an American living in Spain, I was doomed both days.

And still, days are days. One comes after the other, and then another, and so the cycle goes. The days keep rolling by.

In English, most of the days are named for deities.

  • Monday: Comes from the Old English Mōnandæg, which means “Day of the Moon.”
  • Tuesday: Comes from the Old English Tiwesdæg, or “Tyr’s Day.” Tyr was a god of combat in Norse mythology.
  • Wednesday: Comes from the Old English Wōdnesdæg, meaning the day of Germanic god Wodan. (I wonder if he had a hump.)
  • Thursday: Comes from the Old English Þūnresdæg, meaning the day of Þunor, who is known as Thor in Modern English.
  • Friday: Comes from the Old English Frigedæg, meaning the day of Frige, the Germanic goddess of beauty. (Hmmm, is this where the term “frigid” comes from?)
  • Saturday: Named after the Roman god Saturn. This is the day of rest in Jewish and Christian tradition, although for many Americans, it’s hard to rest while standing in check-out lines with the mobs at Walmart.
  • Sunday: Comes from Old English Sunnandæg, day of the sun. This is the first day of the week in Jewish and Christian tradition, although the Western work week and the notion of the weekend tends to render Sunday as the last day of the week.

The seven days also correspond to seven celestial bodies, each of which it is said controls the first hour of the day it’s named after. For example, Mercury corresponds to Wednesday, and so Mercury is said to control the first hour of Wednesdays.

This system originated in Mesopotamia, where astrology was practiced for millennia and where seven was a lucky number. Here are the seven days and their corresponding celestial bodies.

  Day   Celestial Body     Latin 
  Sunday   sun   Solis
  Monday   moon   Lunae
  Tuesday   Mars   Martis
  Wednesday    Mercury   Mercurii    
  Thursday   Jupiter   Jovis
  Friday   Venus   Veneris
  Saturday   Saturn   Saturni

Which brings us to a Writing Topic.

Many a day I will sit down to Writing Practice and simply write the date and day at the top of the page then write. That’s it. For 15 minutes.

Simple. Thursday. Then write for 15 minutes, no crossing out, no stopping. See what comes out.

Do it again Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. After a while it becomes its own sort of No Topic — an easy way to pull a topic from the air and get your hand moving.

Try it. Let us know how it goes.

Days of the week links (for the over-achievers among you):

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