Monday, December 17, 2007
We all know by now that it's Monday. We knew that when the dreaded alarm clock rudely intruded upon our peaceful slumbers early this morning to roust us up and send us off to the first work day of the week. But -- do we know what (else) Monday actually means?
For starters, Monday is Day 1 of the week as delineated on the Julian calendar.
It's generally held that the seven-day week was established as the imperial calendar by the late Roman Empire -- I'm not sure whether that refers to the Holy Roman Empire, which was neither holy nor strictly Roman -- and fostered by the Christian church for historical reasons. The British Empire subsequently used the seven-day week and spread it worldwide. Plus, the number 7 may have had some mystical significance to the ancients.
Most Latin-based languages connect each day of the week with one of the seven "planets" of the ancient times: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. French, for example, uses:
English: Monday French: Lundi Planet: Moon
English: Tuesday French: Mardi Planet: Mars
English: Wednesday French: Mercredi Planet: Mercury
English: Thursday French: Jeudi Planet: Jupiter
English: Friday French: Vendredi Planet: Venus
English: Saturday French: Samedi Planet: Saturn
English: Sunday French: Dimanche Planet: (Sun)
The link with the sun has been broken in French, but Sunday was called dies solis (day of the sun) in Latin.
Some Asiatic languages, e.g., Hindi, Japanese, and Korean, have a similar relationship between the week days and the planets.
English has retained the original planets in the names for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. For the four other days, however, the names of Anglo-Saxon or Nordic gods have replaced the Roman gods that gave name to the planets. Thus, Tuesday is named after Tiw, Wednesday is named after Woden, Thursday is named after Thor, and Friday is named after Freya.
Ergo, what we can deduce from the foregoing is that today is in actuality Lundi-Monday-Moonday. Go crazy, kids.
We had high winds yesterday and my dog barked at the wind all day long. She was still barking when we went to bed last night. You'd think that at her age, she'd know what wind is -- and that it stays outside and probably won't stage a home invasion. Do they ever get over that?
And what are we wearing today for Monday dress-up? I have on black and charcoal pants, black angora sweater trimmed with rhinestones and beads, black flats. And you?
TWISTED LINGUISTICS is putting these Words Gone Wild on trial today. You are the jury. Define them if you wish, or just march them outside and execute them. It's up to you.
no way which I can be held libel