Thor’s day is no pun at all

Maybe you’ve seen “Thor’s day” in memes starring Chris Hemsworth and accompanying puns like “Let’s get hammered.” Or maybe friends have wished you, “Happy Thor’s Day,” and you thought they were being silly.

Well, they were being silly (they’re your friends, aren’t they?) but also etymologically accurate.

Thor’s day is real.

Thor's hammer on the cover art for the book, Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman

Cover art for the book, Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman

As real as the Texan law that you can’t sell your eyeballs.

We’re not surprised your parents didn’t tell you this.

Good thing you have us — we know the power of names and are quite careful about safeguarding ours. Days of the week? Days of the solar system, more like it.

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Each day was named for a celestial body. And of those bodies, the planets were named after European gods and goddesses. The first two days, Sunday (for the sun) and Monday (for the moon), don’t hold divine drama like the other five:

  • Tuesday —  for Tīw, a Germanic god of war, similar to Mars whose name then got assigned to the red planet, perceived as bloody and warlike in the ancient world.
  • Wednesday — for Woden or Odin, Thor’s dad, who was equated with Mercury. Yup and then the planet was named after him. See? You’re getting it.
  • Thursday — for Thor, god of thunder, just like Zeus or Jove/Jupiter.
  • Friday — for Frigga, wife of Odin, goddess of love like Venus.
  • Saturday — for Saturn, often remembered for chewing up his kids.

There they are. Fun facts to dispel your next awkward silence. Holiday dinners aren’t that far away.

— E.K. from Silver Lake, Los Angeles

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