Etymological map of day and other terms in several different languages
How long is a day?


Etymological map of Friday in several different languages

The fifth day

For most languages represented in the map, the first day of the week is Monday, and thus Friday is the fifith day: for example, in Russian (пятница, pyatnitsa) and Ukrainian (п’ятниця, pyatnytsya). However, Friday is referred to as the sixth day of the week in languages that start the week from Sunday: sexta-feira in Portuguese and Galician.

The goddesses

In most West European languages, the name for Friday derives from goddesses associated with love, beauty, and fertility: Venus and Frigg. The last is the Norse goddess of marriage and motherhood, in Germanic languages like Norwegian (fredag) and Danish (fredag). Venus, in Romance languages like French (vendredi), Italian (venerdì), and Spanish (viernes), was the Roman goddess and also the name of the second planet of the solar system.

Weekly rituals

Religious rituals have shaped the way people behave through the week, dividing them into regular and holy days. Many languages took the name from Arabic اَلْجُمْعَة‎ (al-jumʕa) meaning that is the day to congregate or gather since Muslims hold every Friday the “Friday payer”. Other languages borrowed from Ancient Greek παρασκευή (paraskeuḗ) which means “preparation” before Sabbath. In the North Fridays is related to “fasting” because The Catholic Church historically observed this day as special.


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