Did you know that the names given in many languages to the days of the week come from the names of the planets? Babylonians first named them and afterwards Romans kept the same names. The reason for naming the days of the week after the planets was related to the belief that celestial bodies would control the first hour of each day.
Let’s now see the equivalence between the days of the week and the planets in Italian. This allows you to - so to speak - kill two birds with one stone: while learning the names of the days, you will also learn the names of the planets. All in one go!
Should one study Astronomy in Italy or in case of a horoscope reading addiction, names of the planets will come out quite handy indeed.
First of all, weekdays in Italian all end in dì, meaning day (giorno) from the Latin dies.
Lunedì (Monday) means the day of the Moon: il giorno della Luna.
Martedì (Tuesday) means the day of Mars il giorno di Marte.
Mercoledì (Wednesday) means the day of Mercury, il giorno di Mercurio.
Giovedì (Thursday) means the day of Jupiter, il giorno di Giove.
Venerdì (Friday) means the day of Venus, il giorno di Venere.
And what happened to sabato (Saturday) and domenica (Sunday)? In Italian these two days do not end in dì , as the others do. They are not linked to the planets either. On the contrary, in English Saturday is the day of Saturn (Saturno in Italian) and Sunday is the day of the Sun (Sole in Italian). After Christianity spread around the Western world, the pagan names for Saturday and Sunday were replaced by the Hebrew Sabbath (day for resting) and the Latin Dominus dies (day of the Lord).
A couple of final notes. In Italian days of the week are not written with a capital letter. They are all masculine, with the exception of domenica. We do have an Italian equivalent of weekend, which is “il fine settimana”. However, more and more Italians use the English word, obviously adding an exquisite and unique Italian accent.
Buona settimana a tutti! Have a nice week everybody
Author: Margherita Baldisserri