The Complete Story of how Monday Got its Name

Welcome back to the first day of the work week (at least in Nigeria)! So, Monday usually manages to get everyone in shape, and never fails to remind you that the relaxed pace of the weekend must give way to serious business – just like a bucket of ice water thrown on a sleepy face NEVER fails to wake you up!!

So, what’s up with Monday? Ever wondered how it’s name came about? Do you think it has anything to do with “serious business?” Let’s find out.

The name Monday in English Language was derived from the Latin word “Dies Lunae” meaning “Day of the Moon” which was then translated into Old English or Anglo-Saxon as “Moh-nan-dye” and has finally come to be called Monday in modern English, the name it has had for several centuries now.

Why the Moon?

According to an explanation, it is based on the ancient belief that the earth was the centre of the universe, and that if the “planets” were ordered according to their distance from the earth, they would be in this order:

Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn

Also, that each of these “planets” was assigned to each hour of the day starting in reverse with Saturn:

1=Saturn, 2=Jupiter, 3=Mars, 4=Sun, 5=Venus, 6=Mercury, 7=Moon, 8=Saturn, 9=Jupiter, etc., 23=Jupiter, 24=Mars

The next day will then continue where the old day left off:

1=Sun, 2=Venus, 3=Mercury, 4=Moon etc., 23=Venus, 24=Mercury

And the next day will go

1=Moon, 2=Saturn, etc.

If you look at the planet assigned to the first hour of each day, you will note that the planets come in this order:

Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus.

This is exactly the order of the week days, starting with Saturday (Saturn), and ending with Friday (Venus).

Some Quick Facts

  1. Monday in Israel and Muslim countries – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar etc -, is the second day of the work week, unlike in the West and the rest of the world.
  2. The first Monday after the American holiday of Thanksgiving is called Cyber Monday. It is so named to encourage people to shop online, and help small retailers who may have missed out on Black Friday. This is observed in many countries around the world including Nigeria. Hence, today November 30 is Cyber Monday.
  3. Not all countries name this day of the week after the Moon, probably because of its pagan origin. Some of these countries include Croatia, Russia, Israel, Poland, Serbia, among others.

And that’s all about Monday, or “Ojo Aje” in Yoruba. Do you know what this day is called in your native tongue? Would you like to leave it in the “Comment?”

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