In this lesson, we are going to rely on Etymology to learn the days of the week in Spanish. Hopefully, with a bit of backstory, you start to see how languages can be fun and engaging.
A reasonable place to begin when talking about this topic is the ending of the days of the week. Just as the English language uses the suffix, ‘-DAY’ (for example, MonDAY, TuesDAY, WednesDAY etc.), the Spanish use, -ES (for example, MartES, LunES, MiercolES ). Though not throughout the entire week.
The ‘-ES’ comes from the original Latin translation of DAY which is DIES (DIA in Spanish). Except the Spanish do not mind paying homage, though instead of ‘-AS’ they shorten the word DAY to ‘-ES’ to represent five days out of the seven we have in a week.
Days of the Week in Spanish
1. LUNES = MONDAY
NOTE: MOON means LUNA in Spanish.
MOON DAY (MONDAY) is just the same as saying LUNA (MOON) DAY.
From the explanation given above in regards to the Latin translation of the word “DAY,” LUNA DIES becomes LUNES.
HOW TO REMEMBER LUNES:
Everyone hide! The LOON IS (LUNES) here, he shows up every MONDAY. As if we needed another reason to dread the day.
2. MARTES = TUESDAY
If you remember your notes from Mythology class, you know that MARS is the god of WAR. That is how the Spanish get their MARTES.
Sure we don’t have a god of War in English named TUE, but! English is famous for borrowing from other cultures.
It seems we get our TUESday from Germanic/Norse myths. Their God of war is named TIW. Woaaaa! Suddenly, TIW’S DAY makes all the sense in the world.
HOW TO REMEMBER MARTES:
We can’t wage war on MARS, THERE’S (MARTES) not enough oxygen on TUESDAYS.
3. MIERCOLES = WEDNESDAY
What is the one day you want to go faster than another day, HUMPDAY! The day that cuts your week in half, begging for the weekend to arrive. It can’t go by quickly enough!
The Roman god of SPEED is MERCURY. WEDNESDAY becomes the Spanish MIERCOLES.
Borrowing again from the Germanic translations of the gods, we get our WEDNESDAY from the Germanic god, WODEN (which should remind you of the Norse god ODIN).
HOW TO REMEMBER MIERCOLES:
NOTE: For those stuck on attributing the days of the week to planets, the planet MERCURY in Spanish translates to, MERCURIO. If you find it easier to jump from MERCURIO DIES (Mercury Day) to MIERCOLES (WEDNESDAY), then so be it.
4. JUEVES = THURSDAY
BY JOVE! This day should be easy.
“BY JOVE,” is one of those classic sayings you barely hear these days. It is an exclamation that tends to represent surprise or excitement. And why would you be surprised or excited? Sort of how you may hear on TV from time to time, ‘BY GOD!’
And if you are still stuck on remembering days by planets, you are in luck. Which would be considered the king of all the planets? The largest of course! (JU)PITER!!! (JU – EVES)
The Latin name for this god would be ZEUS. But in English, as it pertains to days of the week, we play by Norse rules. And the most remarkable Norse god gets his own summer blockbusters in Hollywood. THOR!!!
That is how we get THOR’S DAY, your THURSDAY. The very same JOVE DIES (JUEVES).
HOW TO REMEMBER JUEVES:
WHOEVER’S (JUEVES) job it is to clean up on THURSDAY is in big trouble.
5. VIERNES = FRIDAY
What is the best day to spend the night out with friends you LOVE? FRIDAY!
You are done with a hectic week, and you can finally relax. Friday is the day of LOVE.
Key: It is no coincidence then that the Roman/Latin name for the goddess of love was VENUS. I am sure you have seen her armless statues around.
The Greeks referred to VENUS as APHRODITE. Germanic/Norse mythology called her FRYGA. That is how we get our FRYGA-DAY (FRIDAY). Remember that when you wonder how the Spanish got their VENUS-DIES (VIERNES)
HOW TO REMEMBER VIERNES:
We tend to drink a lot of FRIDAYS. We leave a BEER MESS. (VIERNES – when speaking Spanish, you have to start getting used to your ‘V’s’ sounding more like ‘B’s’)
6. SÁBADO = SATURDAY
SATURDAY, a day of the week whose Spanish counterpart does not end in -ES.
In English, it is easier to remember this day with consideration to the planets.
SATURN is the god of agriculture. SATURDAY is quite merely SATURN’S DAY. As if to say, hey! Take a break! Enjoy some of all this great food and cultivation instead of going to work.
However, in Spanish, the day is represented by religious considerations.
Google’s Dictionary directly describes a SABBATH as, a day of religious observance and abstinence from work, kept by Jews from Friday evening to Saturday evening, and by most Christians on Sunday.
The Spanish word for SABBATH = SÁBADO. And SÁBADO means SATURDAY.
HOW TO REMEMBER SÁBADO:
Technically, most of us take a mini SABBATICAL (SÁBADO) on SATURDAY.
7. DOMINGO = SUNDAY
Last but not least! We have SUNDAY, another day of the week whose Spanish counterpart does not end in -ES.
We already learned MONDAY is an ode to the MOON (MOON DAY). But guess what? The SUN has a day too. SUNDAY! It doesn’t get any more blatant than that.
Makes sense too since the SUN was long seen as a god (DEUS, in Latin. DIOS in Spanish). DOMINGO translates to DAY OF GOD. The Latin word, DOMINICUS, meant ‘belonging to the master/ the Lord.’
HOW TO REMEMBER DOMINGO:
It is best to GO play DOMINOS (DOMINGO) on SUNDAYS.