Norse Mythology and Days of the Week

Although worship of the Scandinavian gods for the most part ended a thousand years ago, and the myths are now exotic and foreign to most people in the English-speaking world, we make implicit reference to the gods and myths almost every day of our lives. That is because the names of the weekdays Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday all contain the names of old Scandinavian gods (Týr, Odin, Thor, and Frigg; the Old English forms were Tiw, Wodæn, Thunor, and Friija), and the choice of the gods for each of these days was based on myths about them.

Furthermore, when we read about or travel in places like Odense, Denmark (probably best known outside Denmark as the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen), we see a place-name that once bore the name of the god Odin. There are hundreds of these in Scandinavia, but they are seldom obvious, except in Iceland, where there are places with names like Þórsmörk (Thor’s forest), a favorite place for hiking and camping. And if you are acquainted with or have heard of anyone called Freyja, Thor, Baldur (a not uncommon name in Iceland), or any Scandinavian name beginning with Tor, you know of the persistence of the names of the gods in personal naming systems.

Sources: Norse Mythology By John Lindow

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