The origins of weekday names in Italian
The origins of weekday names go way back to ancient times. The Sumerians were the first people to convert time in months, which is the amount of time the moon takes to complete a full cycle around the earth.
Babylonians took this concept and ran with it converting then time in weeks. But why seven days, thought? The Babylonians found out that seven was the approximate number of days between the moon phases and the number of visible planets in the sky (those that were known to humans at the time): the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and the Sun.
Once the Romans became hot to trot, they named the days of the week after the planets, or more appropriately, after their gods.
Here we go with the Italian weekday names:
Monday – Lunedi
Just as the word “moon” is reflected in the name “Monday”, the Italian word lunedì comes to us from the Latin “lunae dies” (day of the moon).
Tuesday – Martedì
Martedì is derived from the Latin name Martis dies or “day of Mars.”
Wednesday – Mercoledì
Mercoledì comes from the Latin name Mercurĭi dies or “day of Mercury.”
Thursday – Giovedì
By Jove, the name giovedì does come from the Latin Jove dies or “day of Jove”.
Friday – Venerdì
Venerdi is named for the Roman goddess Veneris and comes from the Latin term Venĕris dies.
Saturday – Sabato
And finally, sabato is derived from the Latin word sabbatum, which itself comes from the Hebrew word shabbat, meaning “sabbath” or “seventh” day (the first one will be Sunday).
Sunday – Domenica
The word domenica comes to us completely unchanged from its original Latin form domenica, meaning “day of God”.