Christian History Project. This site contains the text of 12 volumes on the history of mankind over the last 2,000 years written from a 'collectively-denominational' Christian perspective.

Paganism |
The days of paganism

Paganism is drawn from Chapter Ten, beginning on page 266, of Volume Three, By This Sign of the twelve-volume historical series The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years. If you would like to order this book please visit www.TheChristians.info.

The Christian East succeeded in converting the days of the week, but in the West pagan names like Sun’s Day and Thor’s Day survive

Paganism - The days of paganism

Paganism – The days of paganism
Thor, god of thunder, holds the symbol of his power, a stylized hammer.

The Christian East succeeded in converting the days of the week, but in the West pagan names like Sun’s Day and Thor’s Day survive

While Constantine’s ascendancy marked the triumph of Christianity over paganism, in one respect paganism won–in the West, anyway. That was in the naming of the days of the week.

In the Romance languages for example, the old Roman practice of naming the days of the week after the heavenly bodies, which in turn were named after the pagan gods, continued into the Christian era in northern Europe. Thus the Romans had Sun’s Day, Moon’s Day, Mars’s Day (Tuesday), Mercury’s Day (Wednesday), Jupiter’s Day (Thursday), Venus’s Day (Friday), and Saturn’s Day (Saturday).

When these were carried into French and Spanish, a couple of changes were made because of Christian influence. Saturn’s Day became sabado in Spanish and samedi in French, from the Latin sabbati dies meaning the Sabbath Day. Sun’s Day turned into domingo in Spanish and dimanche in French, from the Latin dies dominica, the Lord’s Day.

When the German Saxons fell under Roman influence, they exchanged some of the Roman gods for their own in the names of their days. Hence, while Sun’s Day, Moon’s Day and Saturn’s Day were retained as what became Sunday, Monday and Saturday, Mars’s Day (martes in Spanish, mardi in French) became in English Tiwesdag, because of similarities between Tiw, oldest of the German gods, and Mars, the Roman god of war. Similarly, Mercury’s Day (miercoles in Spanish, mercredi in French) became Woden’s Day in English (Wednesday) after the supreme Norse-German god Woden.

Jupiter’s Day (jueves in Spanish, jeudi in French) became in English Thor’s Day after Thor, the god of thunder, while Venus’s Day (viernes in Spanish, vendredi in French) became in English Frey’s Day, after Frey, the Norse-German fertility god.

The evangelists of the Eastern church made better progress. There, the old pagan names were abolished. In Greek, Friday became Preparation Day, Saturday became Sabbath Day, Sunday became Lord’s Day or Resurrection Day. Other days of the week were simply numbered, following an old Jewish practice. This is also the liturgical practice of the Catholic Church.

This is the end of the Paganism category article drawn from Chapter Ten, beginning on page 266, of Volume Three, By This Sign. To continue reading more about Paganism from The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years we suggest experiencing the rest of the book, complete with hundreds of magnificent illustrations, by ordering it at www.TheChristians.info