It’s Tuesday! But we came very close to calling this “Marsday” instead of Tuesday. Originally, in the ancient civilizations of Babylon, Greece, and Rome, each day of the week was named for the planets. At the time there were seven planets visible to the naked eye; Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon and the Sun. (remember, in those days they assumed the sun revolved around the earth… well, everybody except for this guy)
Now those are the Roman names for the planets, named for their gods. So in Latin the days of the week were as follows: dies solis, dies lunae, dies Martis, dies Mercurii, dies Jovis, dies Veneris, and dies Saturni. All of the day names in the western European languages have descended from this, and some have not fallen far from the tree.
In French, for example, the Roman influence is strong: lundi, mardi, mercredi, jeudi, vendredi, and samedi. Dimanche, the french word for Sunday, derives from a later update changing the Latin day to dies Domenica, the “day of the lord”.
The English names of the days share in that ancestry as evidenced in our Sunday, Monday (moon-day) and Satur(n)day. The other days come from an Anglo-Saxon substitution of the gods. While the characters mostly remained the same, the Germanic people changed the names of the gods to Woden (Odin), Tiu, Thor, and Freya. If you add “day” on to those they begin to sound familiar. Woden’s day, Tiu’s day, Thor’s day, and Freya’s day.
So be sure to celebrate Tuesday today in honour of the one-handed god of heroic victory and glory.