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[sci.astro] General (Astronomy Frequently Asked Questions) (2/9)
Section - B.10 Are the planets associated with days of the week?

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Surprisingly, yes.  This comes from the historical association of the
"planets" with gods and goddesses.  In ancient times, the word
"planets" was from the Greek for "wanderers" and referred to objects
in the sky that were not fixed like the stars.  Some of these
associations are clearer in English, especially if we compare with
names of Norse or Old English gods/goddesses, while others are clearer
from comparing French/Spanish with the Roman gods and goddesses.  We

         Sun      Moon    Mars     Mercury    Jupiter   Venus    Saturn

Roman             Luna    Mars     Mercury    Jupiter   Venus    Saturn
Norse                     Tiw      Woden      Thor      Freya

French   dimanche lundi   mardi    mercredi   jeudi     vendredi samedi
Spanish  domingo  lunes   martes   miercoles  jueves    viernes  sabado
Italian  Domenica Lunedi  Martedi  Mercoledi  Giovedi   Venerdi  Sabato
English  Sunday   Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday   Saturday
German   Sonntag  Montag  Dienstag Mittwoch   Donnerstag Freitag Samstag

1. Sun:  Dimanche and domingo are from the Latin for "Day of the Lord."
2. Saturn:  Sabado is from "Sabbath."
3. German and English use Teutonic, not Scandinavian forms of the God
   names, e.g., "Woden" in "Wednesday," not "Odin," which is the Norse
   equivalent. The God of Tuesday was Tiw.
4. Russian numbers three days (Tuesday = 2nd, Thursday = 4th, and
   Friday= 5th) and does not use God/Planet names for the rest.

In Sanskrit (an Indo-European language), we also find ("vaar" means day)

Sun       Ravivaar       Ravi      Sunday
Moon      Somvaar        Som       Monday
Mars      Mangalvaar     Mangal    Tuesday
Mercury   Budhvaar       Budh      Wednesday
Jupiter   Brihaspativaar Brihaspati Thursday
Venus     Shukravaar     Shukr     Friday
Saturn    Shanivaar      Shani     Saturday

This association between planets and days of the week holds in at
least some non-European languages as well.

In Japanese the days Tuesday through Saturday (and the associated
planets) are named after the five Asian elements, rather than gods.

          days           planets

Sun       nichiyoubi     hi    (same kanji as nichi)
Moon      getsuyoubi     tsuki (same kanji as getsu)
Mars      kayoubi        kasei
Mercury   suiyoubi       suisei
Jupiter   mokuyoubi      mokusei
Venus     kinyoubi       kinsei
Saturn    doyoubi        dosei

For additional reading, particularly about Eastern day naming, see

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