Today is Saturday, aka “Saturn’s Day”. ‘Do you mean saturn, like the planet?’ Yes, all seven days of the week are named after celestial objects of importance. While it’s obvious with days like Saturday and Sunday, other days are derived from other languages. Here is a couple pages from the book Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy, by Robert Hewitt Brown:
“The Number ‘Seven’
Q. Why was the number seven held in especial reverence by all the nations of antiquity?
A. The mystic number seven was held sacred by our ancient brethren for reasons which had a purely astronomical origin. The reasons for this well lead us to inquire into the origin of the division of time into days, weeks, months, and years. We were naturally induced to divide our time into periods called days, because the sun makes his apparant diurnal revolution in that time. The Egyptians used to watch for the heliacal rising of the dog-star (Sirius), which, like a faithful guardian, gave notice of the approaching inundation of the Nile, a period of the greatest importance to them, as their harvests depended upon it. By this means a defininte period of time was marked off, corresponding to the apparent revolution of the sun in the zodiac. This period was denominated in a year, a word which, in our language and all northern tongues, whether “gear”, “jaar”, “jaer”, or as in the Persian, “yare”, signifies a circle. In Latin, also, the words “annus”, a year, and “annulus”, a circle, are synonomous. Thus the very word “year” alludes directly to the great circle of the zodiac, and points out the origin of that division of time. This period was further divided by the revolutions of the moon about the earth. These latter subdivisions were naturally called “moons”, from which is derived our word “month”. Among the ancient Egyptians the hieroglyphic sign for a month is the crescent of the moon. In Hebrew the same intimate connection between the words ‘moon’ and ‘month’ exists as in English. It was also still further observed, by these early students of the skies, that in each lunar month that planet assumed in regular order, at fixed periods of seven days each, four distinct phases – the new moon, the first quarter, the full moon, and the last quarter. The “month” was therefore divided into four equal parts of seven days each, called ‘weeks’.
All divisions of time, whether days, weeks, months, or years, have therefore an astronomical origin, and are but measures of the observed motions of the moon, for the year itself was originally lunar, the solar year having been subsequently adopted on account of its greater accuracy and convenience. The moon, among the nations of antiquity, was the object of universal adoration. Next to the sun in beauty and splendor the moon leads all hosts of heaven. It may be that the awful majesty and solemn silence of that starry vault, in the midst of which she is seen, caused her to appeal more strongly to the imagination of the early Oriental nations than even the meridian sun itself. It is certain, however, that from ancient Egypt to the distant plains of India, or those far-off lands where the Incas ruled, altars were erected to the worship of the moon, and the goddess adored under a multitude of names, with rites as splendid and awful as those instituted in honor of the sun.
As on every seventh day the moon assumed a new phase, therefore on every seventh day a festival to Luna was celebrated. The number seven was thus sacred because it was dedicated to the moon. The day set apart for the worship of the moon was known among most northern nations as “moon-day” – whence is derived our name for the second day of the week, Monday. The first day of the week being in like manner set apart to worship the sun, called “sun-day”. In fact, each day of the week was set apart to the special worship of some one of the heavenly bodies: Sunday to the sun; Monday to the moon; Tuesday to Mars; Wednesday to Mercury; Thursday to Jupiter; Friday to Venus; and Saturday to Saturn. A strange reminiscence of this fact is found in the modern names of all the names of the week, each of which, like Sunday and Monday, has derived its name from the planet or god to which it was anciently sacred.
Tuesday is derived from the Scandinavian name of Mars. The name of the day in French is ‘Mardi’, derived directly from the Latin, and meaning “Mars’s day”.
Wednesday is from the Scandinavian Mercury, ‘Woden’; hence Woden’s day, or Wednesday. The French name of this day is ‘Mercredi’, from the Latin , meaning “Mercury’s day”.
Our Thursday is from the Scandinavian Jupiter, ‘Thor’; hence the name “Thor’s day”, and Thursday. The German name is ‘Donnerstag’, meaning the “Thunderer’s day”, in allusion to ‘Jupiter Tonans’. The French call it ‘Jeudi’, meaning “Jupiter’s Day”.
Friday is named after the Scandinavian Venus, ‘Fria’. The German name is ‘Freitag’, with the same derivation and meaning. The French call this day ‘Vendredi’, which means “Venus’s day”.
Saturday is derived from Latin, and means “Saturn’s day”.
It was thus that not only the mysterious changes of the moon and the number of the planets, but also the number and order of their religious festivals, and the shole system of ancient worship, were inseparably and astronomically connected with the number seven and “the moon, whose phases marked and appointed their holy days.” (See Cicero, in the “Tusculan Disputations”, Book 1, Chapter XXVIII). It is, therefore, a matter of no wonder that his number should have been held in especial reverance by all the nations of antiquity, or that their imagination should have clothed it with mysterious and magical virtues. This veneration for the number seven was diffused as widely as the worship of the heavenly bodies. The moon was adored in all lands alike, and all her motions, especially her weekly phases, observed with superstitious reverence. It thus happened that, from similar reasons, the number seven was alike considered sacred by nations who had no intercourse, the idea being a spontaneous growth from common astronomical causes.”
More on this concept:
Some pictures from the vault:
* * *
Great work! Times on the benchmark page will be updated/added.
CrossFit HQ WOD:
6 rounds for time of:
Run 400 meters