Red Green Repeat Adventures of a Spec Driven Junkie

Origin of the Days of the Week

The Origin of the Days of the Week

In a summer I spent with my dad, it was less about “fun” and more about me “catching up on basic things” I didn’t learn from school (for some reason or another).

That was not a fun summer because I remember just waking up and forced to study.

Exactly how young kids want to spend summers with their dads.


One thing my dad taught me that shocked me was how to spell the months and days of the week. I was shocked when I did not know how to spell those.

The way my dad taught me was this:

Just memorize how to spell them.

Wha?? That’s it??

At the time, I didn’t know better and well, I just memorized them and moved onto memorizing more things. The human mind can memorize a lot of things!

Come to present day and in a passage from Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, explains the origin of the days of the week!

When it got to be time to design the week—a period of time, unlike the day, month, and year, with no intrinsic astronomical significance—it was assigned seven days, each named after one of the seven anomalous lights in the night sky. We can readily make out the remnants of this convention. In English, Saturday is Saturn’s day. Sunday and Mo[o]nday are clear enough. Tuesday through Friday are named after the gods of the Saxon and kindred Teutonic invaders of Celtic/Roman Britain: Wednesday, for example, is Odin’s (or Wodin’s) day, which would be more apparent if we pronounced it as it’s spelled, “Wedn’s Day”; Thursday is Thor’s day; Friday is the day of Freya, goddess of love. The last day of the week stayed Roman, the rest of it became German.

From: Sagan, Carl; Druyan, Ann. Pale Blue Dot (pp. 99-100). Random House Publishing Group.

Day of the Week Origin
Monday Moon
Tuesday Teutonic
Wednesday Odin (Wodin)
Thursday Thor
Friday Freya
Saturday Saturn
Sunday Sun

Wow - this is:


Looking back, memorizing the days of the week is a nice shortcut. Knowing the origins provides context! Although, I’m not sure how much of this context would have helped in memorizing how to spell the days of the week, because the explanation seem trickier than the result.

If in doubt, just memorize and the context will appear to you - sometimes decades later!


Other articles I wrote on Pale Blue Dot