Viking Age Legacy in Week Day Names

The Viking Age has left traces still evident today, also in something as common as the names of the days of the week. In the English, Germanic and Scandinavian languages no less than four of the seven week day names have a Viking Age legacy – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

  • Tuesday – comes from “day of Tyr”, Tyr being the Norse god of war. In modern Danish the day name is still spelled “tirsdag”.
  • Wednesday – comes from “day of Woden’s”, which comes from “Odin’s”-day with Odin being the Norse god of battle, death, healing and royalty. In modern Danish the day name is still spelled “onsdag”.
  • Thursday – comes from “day of Thor”, Thor being the Norse god of thunder, lightning, strength and fertility. In modern Danish the day name is still spelled “torsdag”.
  • Friday – comes from either “Frigg’s”-day or “Freya’s”-day. While two separate goddesses in later Viking Age and onward, then there is strong evidence that originally Frigg (also spelled Frija in Germanic) and Freya were the same goddess. Frigg is the wife of Odin, and connected with wisdom and prophecy. Freya is old Norse for “Lady”, and she is the goddess of love, beauty and fertility. In modern Danish the day name is still spelled “fredag”.

The remaining three week day names are derived from celestial bodies – with Saturday from Saturn, Sunday from the sun and Monday from the moon.

Source: Blog article written by AllThingsViking (April, 2015)


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