Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pagan Days for Christians

I think that it's probably fair to say that most Christians aren't aware of the pagan roots of the names of our days of the week. I believe that it was Douglas Wilson who said that Thursday (Thor's Day) was not a proper name for the day on which our Great God created the birds and the fish. In that vein, I want to present a list of where all of our current English days got their names and then propose some new Christianized ones.
  • Sunday - Obviously, this name comes from the sun. It is the Sun's Day. This was not meant as a way of honoring God's creation of the sun, but rather comes from a time when the sun was worshipped as a pagan deity. In many countries and languages today, the name of this day has been changed to "The Lord's Day" - for example, Spanish: Domingo. We Christians in America still preserve the old pagan name.
  • Monday - This name comes from the moon. It is the Moon's Day. Again, this stems from pagan moon worship.
  • Tuesday - The name of this day comes from the Old English Tyr's Day. Tyr was the Norse god of war. Compare to Spanish Martes, or Mars' Day. Mars was the Roman god of war.
  • Wednesday - The name comes from the name of the god Woden, a Germanic god also known as Odin, who was the highest god in Norse mythology.
  • Thursday - This is one of the most easily recognizable. Thor was the god of thunder in Germanic and Norse mythology. Thursday is Thor's Day.
  • Friday - Frige was the Germanic goddess of beauty, very much like the Roman Venus. Compare again to Spanish Viernes. Friday is Frige's Day.
  • Saturday - This is the only day name that comes to English directly from Roman mythology. Saturn was the father of the gods in Roman mythology, much like Cronos, the father of Zeus in Greek paganism.

Now, I would like to handle the discussion of this topic under the rubric of Psalm 16:4, "The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips." Wow! Imagine if we wanted to protect our speech like David. Every time we mention the name of the day, we are speaking the names of pagan deities! We are saying that the day that the Lord has made belongs to Thor and Saturn and Frige and the Moon!

So, I would like to propose some new names for the days. I like the idea hinted at by Wilson (or whoever it was that first said the thing I mentioned earlier) that the day ought to have a name that honored what God created on that particular day of the week. I think that we should combine that idea with the long standing tradition of calling the first day of the week, The Lord's Day. I think that we should just make it official. So here is my list. Feel free to suggest more.

  • The Lord's Day
  • Lightday
  • Heavenday
  • Landay
  • Starsday
  • Birdsday
  • Manday

I wonder how long it would take to effect change if a large percentage of the population of this country just started using different names for the days.


Dustin Belcher said...

Way to make #1 on the Weel Said sight

G. F. McDowell said...

Well, if you want to link it to the days of creation, Lord's Day needs to be at the end, not the beginning. He rested on the seventh day, not the first. That pushes everything else out of whack. That (minor) issue notwithstanding, what do you do about our months? Should we simply go with hebrew month names? I see this going over about as well as Esperanto and the Metric System in the US.

Corey Reynolds said...

Well, my thinking about not pushing everything back was that the Lord's Day has become the Christian Sabbath. So if we call the first day The Lord's Day, we have already overwritten day one of creation. Also, the Sabbath, then, would be seventh and may cause some confusion with The Lord's Day.

These are issues that would need to be ironed out, but certainly not a cause for keeping the old pagan day names.

As far as the months go, from what I remember, a lot of them are numerical (Sept-ember, Oct-ober, Nov-ember, Dec-ember), two are named after Roman authority figures (July and August), and I got nothing for the others. I don't think the months are as pagan as the days.