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Days of the week in French language

by | Sep 5, 2017 | Article A1 chapter 1, Articles, Articles A1, Blog | 2 comments

Under the Roman empire, each day was the opportunity to celebrate a divinity associated with the celestial bodies they could see in the sky.

1. Sun and moon

Lundi comes from Lunaes dies in Latin, which means ‘’the day of the moon’’ (moon: la lune and dies : day)

With the same logic, Sunday should mean ‘’the day of sun’’ and should be soldi in French (sun: le soleil). But it has been changed by Christians into Dimanche from latin dominicus (the Master, the Lord).

2. Other planets

Apparently, Romans couldn’t see Uranus and Neptune, that’s why they don’t have any day named after them.

On the other hand, we have only seven days in the week, so, even if they had been able to see them, they would have had to make a choice between the 8 planets.

Or maybe we would have had 10 days in the week! A nightmare ?

Mardi (Tuesday) comes from Mars.

Mercredi (Wednesday) comes from Mercure.

Jeudi (Thursday) comes from Jupiter.

Vendredi (Friday) comes from Venus.

Samedi (Saturday) comes from Saturne. Previously, Romans used to call it Saturdi, but Christians changed it to Sabbati (the day of the Sabbat (Shabbat)), which became samedi in French.

Let’s recap:

Here you will find a great representation of the way we name days in Europe:

Par Poulpy — Travail personnel, based on File:Word for Wine in European languages.svg by PiMaster3, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27621395

Voilà! I hope it’s clearer for you. Now, if you are on the moon on Monday, you have a good excuse! Tell your boss that story.

Still, there is one mystery I could not solve: why do we put the days in that order? If you have an idea, tell me in a comment!

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