Norse Gods and Days of the Week

Posted by Ms Elly on

Norse Gods and Days of the Week

To those who love and respect Norse myth, Norse pantheon is the supreme power. In Norse myth, they created the cosmos, breathing life into humanity, defending all creatures, and sacrificing themselves to protecting the ideal. That is why we nowadays have many ways to honor key Norse gods. One of those ways is to use their names to call the days of the week. But which gods presented which day? 


In many calendars, Sunday is the first day of the week though this is not quite popular in many cultures. But nevermind, what we focus on is which God is honored on Sunday? It is Sol who personified the Sun in Norse mythology. Actually, whether Sol was a god or not remained a mystery. But what the tales told us was that Sol rode her chariot through the sky every day to provide the earth below with sunlight. The personification of Sol was the Sun and what we have is the first compound "Sun" in "Sunday". What a coincidence! 


Monday is the common starting day of the week in many cultures. Monday is named after by Mani who personified the Moon. Like Sol, we do not exactly know whether Mani was a Norse god. In the myth, Mani was supposed to pull the chariot in the sky to keep the moon shining brightly downwards the earth below. In some accounts, Mani and Sol were siblings from the Midgard land of humanity. Because of their father's arrogance, they were stolen and put into the sky. (See Norse Myth Sun and Moon)


Image of god Tyr Norse mythology

Tuesday was the day for god Tyr in Norse mythology. Tyr was the one-handed god of justice and honor in the myth. Many sources told us that Tyr was even powerful than Odin that his name was honored first but this theory was quite doubted. Anyway, Tyr was loved in Norse myth for his justice and sacrifice. His great sacrifice was giving up his hand so that Aesir gods managed to bind monstrous wolf Fenrir. He gave up one of his important things for the good of his community. And Tuesday probably means Tyr's day. 


Wednesday was the day to honor god Woden in Norse mythology. But who was Woden then? In fact, Woden was the Old English name for Odin the Allfather. Odin was the god of war, poem, healing, wisdom, and death. He was the Aesir chief god who presided over the holy land of Asgard. So, Woden's day is known as Wednesday nowadays. (See The Father of All)

Image of Odin the Allfather

Odin the Allfather


If you are into the Norse mythology, you can easily guess who is honored on Thursday. Yes, it is Thor. Regarding god Thor in Norse mythology, we probably need little detail about him. He is so famous with the Mjolnir hammer that could strike thunder and lightning. Thor was a kind and generous god because he defended both gods and humans. If it is Thursday, it is Thor's day!


Friday is the most loved day of the week. We even have TGIF " Thank God It's Friday". But in Norse mythology, which God is honored on Friday? There are two goddesses, in fact, to be honored on Friday. They are Frigg and Freya. Frigg was the wife of Odin the Allfather while Freya was the Vanir god of love. Both of them were subtly illustrated in Norse mythology. There are theories that they were actually one goddess because of so many similarities. The very first and same thing we can see is that Frigg, Freya, and Friday are loved!


More's the pity, there is no source talking about the god for whom Saturday honors. 

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  • Wasn’t saturday taken from surturs day the king of the fire giants in Norse myth ?


  • Hi Saturday runes it

    Anais on

  • Hi Margaret,
    I really appreciate your comment and thank you so much for the knowledge. But to answer the question about origins of everyday’s names is kinda impossible for us, right? Also, sources we have now vary all the time.
    So may you take this blog post as a source of new knowledge.

    Ms Elly on

  • Saturday breaks the pattern of naming days after Norse deities; instead, it’s derived from the Roman god Saturn, i.e. “Saturn’s-Day.”

    On a walking tour in Copenhagen, I asked the guide about what the word for ‘Saturday’ is in Danish. The name of the day is lørdag, which she said means something like ‘laundry day.’ Also, in Icelandic, at least, the day is called Laugardag. ‘Lauga’ is a water-related word that means ‘wash,’ which corroborates the notion that there just wasn’t a Germanic-deity-derived name for the day preceding Sunday.

    Latin and its descendant languages also have day-names derived from deities/celestial bodies. In Latin/Spanish: Lunae/lunes (Monday – the moon), Martis/martes (Tuesday – Mars), Mercurii/miercoles (Wednesday – Mercury), Iovis/jueves (Thursday – Jove a.k.a. Jupiter), and Veneris/viernes (Friday – Venus). In Latin, Saturday and Sunday are Saturnii (Saturn) and Solis (the sun), respectively, but in Spanish they are sábado (from ‘sabbath’) and domingo (from ‘dominus,’ i.e. ‘The Lord’s Day’).

    My totally-uneducated and unresearched guess is that at some point 1100 ± 150 years ago Old English swiped the Roman god of the corresponding day to fill the gap/patch up the pattern of deity-themed day-names. English has always been, uh, ‘borrowing’ vocabulary from other languages; I suspect this is just an early example.

    TL;DR Saturday is derived from the Roman god Saturn, rather than a Norse deity. The modern Icelandic/Danish/Norwegian/Swedish names for the corresponding day are all cognates, and mean something like ‘washing/laundry day,’ which suggests that the day was never named after any Norse deity.

    Margaret on

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