Everything started in ancient times. Like all Romance languages, Spanish words have their origins in Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. Back then, the stars had a huge impact on people's lives and therefore on language conventions. That is why the days of the week are primarily seven.
Each phase of the moon lasts seven days. Apart from that, there were other astronomical reasons as well. Interesting, uh? But let's not unravel this mystery just yet, let's decipher one by one and find out what each day of the week entails in Spanish.
What are the days of the week called in Spanish and how did it come about?
The ancients were so passionate about astronomy! After all, there was no Netflix back then. Observing celestial bodies entertained them, and since they were completely beyond their reach and control, they found them even more fascinating.
Because of this, each day of the week was named after the seven celestial bodies that could be seen in the sky (and the only ones they knew of in the past). These were: Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and the Sun. You're probably wondering why these names don't come to mind at all when we think of the days of the week in English. They certainly make a lot more sense in Spanish my fellow learners. Let's take a look!
Lunes por la Luna - Monday in Spanish
The first day of the week, known as Monday in English, is actually not that difficult to associate with the connection in Spanish, which I'll explain in a moment. See Monday starts with MO, which reminds you of Monday very slightly, right? It's the same logic in Spanish.
The ancient Romans thought firstthe moon that isLunain Spanish.
LUNa reminds you onomatopoeic of LUNes. Fun Fact: There is a very popular poster that kindergarten teachers in Peru (the country I'm from) put up in their classrooms.
I can still remember a really cute picture of himLuna(moon) forMontag(on Monday)in my classroom when I was little. Some popular expressions for this day of the week in Spanish are:
|On Monday||On Monday|
On MondayI'm starting the diet.(I'm starting my dieton Monday.)
I hate iton Monday!(I hateon Monday!)
Martes por Marte - Tuesday in Spanish
The second day of the week, called Tuesday in English, has an easy-to-remember link: Mars. Especially this one sounds the same at the beginning in the Spanish form, asthe planet Mars isMartein Spanish.
We'll use the same logic since the opening tone of MARTEs is exactly the same as MARTE, the planet. There is one more object in the kindergarten poster mentioned above.
My classroom poster would have a picture of aHammer(hammer) formartes(Tuesdays)so that we can remember this day of the week. Some examples of Spanish phrases for this day of the week are:
On TuesdayI'm coming for dinner(I'm coming for dinneron Tuesday.)
TuesdaysI have piano lessons.(I have piano lessonson Tuesdays.)
Wednesday for Mercury - Wednesday in Spanish
Now this is going to get a little tricky, but don't worry. let me explain. The third day of the week, known as Wednesday in English, is associated with the planet Mercury.
In this case it is similar (but not exactly the same) as the pronunciation of the day in Spanish, asthe planet is MercuryMercuryin Spanish.
In this case we try to focus on the sound of the beginning of the word MIÉRColes. It sounds pretty much like the word MERCurio, the planet. You can imagine if it was difficult for Spanish learners, kindergarten kids would have a hard time remembering it.
Therefore the picture shown for us Peruvian children would be a glass fullHonig(honey) forWednesday(Wednesdays)to remind us more kindly of the third day of the week.
Some examples of Wednesday phrases in Spanish are:
|On Wednesday||The Wednesdays|
On WednesdayI have an appointment.(I have a datethis Wednesday.)
The WednesdaysLet's go to the cinema.(We go to the moviesWednesdays.)
Jueves por Júpiter - Thursday in Spanish
Moving on to the fourth day of the week: Thursday. This day is easy to remember in English with the planet Jupiter. The spelling of the whole word is basically the same in both languagesthe planet is JupiterJupiterin Spanish.
As you might have guessed, the beginning of the word JUeves is the same as JÚpiter, the planet.
That was our favorite day of the week in terms of memory aids in kindergarten.
The poster showed one picture among manytoys(toys) forThursday(Thursday) for us to remember that day of the week and it was also the day of the games! Let's see some examples of Thursdays in Spanish:
ThursdayI go to the dentist.(I go to the dentiston Thursday.)
thursdaysWe play tennis.(We play tennisthursdays.)
Viernes por Venus - Friday in Spanish
Finally, our favorite day of the week is mentioned in this article. Everyone loves Fridays. This day of the week was named after the planet Venus.
As with Wednesdays, we need to find the logic in initial sounds that are the same for Spanish correlation. First of all, the spelling of the whole word is exactly the same in both languagesthe planet is VenusVenusin Spanish.
Now just focus on the beginning of the word VIErnes and try to associate it with VEnus. Just like with miércoles (Wednesdays), the logic wasn't so logical for us in kindergarten!
The poster showed an image of many clouds blowingWind(wind) forFreitag(Fridays)to make our life and understanding easier!
Some phrases in Spanish are:
On Fridayi have a party(I have a partyon Friday.)
Fridaysyou are my favorite day(Fridaysare my favorite day.)
Saturday of Saturn - Saturday in Spanish
The first day of the weekend appears: Saturday. One of the easiest to remember for English speakers. The spelling of the whole word is easy to rememberthe planet Saturn isSaturnin Spanish. Well, the beginning of the word SÁbado is the same as SAturno, the planet.
Unfortunately, our kindergarten mnemonics end up here because there is no school at the weekend and we therefore do not blame it.
However, one way to remember it can be to imagine a nice set of thingsBedsheet(sheets) forSaturdays(Saturdays) because after all, weekends are for resting in bed!
Also, it's a good way to memorize both the spelling and pronunciation, which are very similar for these two words in Spanish. Some examples of Spanish phrases for Saturday are:
SaturdayI will go to the bank.(I go to the bankon Saturday.)
SaturdaysWe are going to the beach.(We are going to the beachSaturdays.)
Sunday for the sun? –Sunday in Spanish
Finally, after much logic and associated spellings and sounds, we come to the moment where we ask ourselves: What is the logic (if any) for naming the Sunday “Domingo” in Spanish? We know it makes perfect sense in English.
The spelling in English comes fromthe sun and therefore it isSunday. In this case it has nothing to do with the spelling of the word SOL (the sun) in Spanish.
When Christianity arrived in the Roman Empire, the "day of the sun" was changed to DOMINICS, meaning "the day of the Lord."
Now it makes sense as DOMINicus slightly reminds us of DOMINgo, the last day of the week. I don't really have a mnemonic technique this time, but I can give you some useful examples of how we use them in Spanish:
On SundayI will go to mom's house.(I go to my motheron Sunday.)
SundaysI sleep a lot.(I sleep a lotSunday.)
All about the days of the week in Spanish
There's a lot to think about, but with the visual aids, it becomes very easy and fun to remember. If you want a little practice, take a look at this worksheet I have prepared for you.
I've even included the pictures of the poster I used to learn these words myself as a kid, so I hope you find it useful. If you liked this article, don't forget to share it with anyone who wants to know more about Spanish and our culture.
Hello! My name is Pierina Sánchez and I'm a foreign language teacher (English-Spanish), foodie, wannabe fashionista and full-time mom. I dedicate my life to helping others learn not only about the language, but also the cultural differences between these two beautiful languages. Being Peruvian certainly adds a Latin perspective, especially for those looking to visit this part of the world.