Norse gods, days of the week, and Viking fun!

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Norse gods

image: Lucy Fitch Perkins / Wikimedia Commons

Summer is a time for new adventures, and with school out, it’s a great time to learn a little more about your Norwegian heritage.

All of us know that there are seven days in a week, but did you know that many of them are named after the Norse gods?

MONDAY – MANDAG
(mahn-dahg)

mandag

image: H. A. Guerber, Myths of the Norsemen from the Eddas and Sagas / Wikimedia

In Norway, the first day of the week is the day of the moon, named after the god Mani, or Måne in Norwegian. It was considered very bold of his parents to name him after the moon, so he suffered a terrible fate: he had to pull the moon across the sky with his chariot for all his days.

What to do on mandag: Since your week is beginning, it’s a great time to think about what you are going to do until the weekend—and plan for some fun summer activities for sure!

TUESDAY – TIRSDAY
(teesh-dahg)

tirsdag

image: H. A. Guerber, Myths of the Norsemen from the Eddas and Sagas / Wikimedia

Tirsdag is the day of the Norse god Tyr, the son of Odin. Tyr was a warrior, the god of the sword, and for a long time, it was believed that Tuesday was the best day to start a war.

What to do on tirsdag: These days, we don’t want any more wars, though we don’t want to change the name of this weekday! This is a great day to think about one thing you will do to have the best, most peaceful week possible.

WEDNESDAY – ONSDAG
(awhns-dahg)

onsdag

image: Viktor Villalobos / Wikimedia Commons

This day was named for the war god, Odin, most powerful of the Norse gods. One-eyed Odin was also very wise, god of knowledge and poetry.

What to do on onsdag: To be as wise as Odin, take out a book and start reading. If you feel particularly clever, try writing your own story or poem, maybe about a Norse god or Viking.

THURSDAY – TORSDAG
(tawsh-dagh)

torsdag

image: Alexander Murray, Manual of Mythology / Wikimedia Commons

This is the day of the Norse god Tor, also known as Thor. Tor rode across the sky in his chariot, hammer in hand, making the sound of the thunder. Torsdag is believed to be the day when magic works best. These days it’s the best day to hold a meeting or make an important decision.

What do on torsdag: Try playing a new game, because you are likely to win. If you know a magical trick, this is the best day to show it off!

FRIDAY – FREDAG
(freey-dagh)

fredag

image: Alexander Murray, Manual of Mythology / Wikimedia Commons
Freyja, goddess of love, rode a chariot pulled by her cats.

This was the day of the beautiful Frigg and Freya. They were the goddesses of love, and fredag is a day for love. Since it is the last day of the workweek, it a day for having fun.

What to do on fredag: Do what you love to do on Friday, and make someone you love happy on this very special day.

SATURDAY – LØRDAG
(lurhrr-dahg)

lørdag

image: Wilhelm Wägner, Nordisch-germanische Götter und Helden / Wikimedia Commons
Balder and his wife Nanna were considered to be the most beautiful couple among the Norse gods.

In English, this is the Roman god Saturn’s Day, but in Norwegian, it’s the day to wash your clothes, “laugardagen” or “washday.” The Vikings were extremely particular about their appearance, and were very clean.

What to do on lørdag: We have washing machines now, but why not dress up like a Viking on this day? That means you will have to put on a sparkling clean shirt or dress. If you have a helmet, wear that, or if your hair is long you can put it in braids.

SUNDAY – SØNDAG
(surhn-dahg)

søndag

image: The Elder or Poetic Edda; known as Sæmund’s Edda /
Wikimedia Commons

Like in English, the Norse word is related to the sun. The Norwegian word for sun is “sol,” and there was a Norse goddess with this name. She was the sister of Mani, and the gods did not like that she was named after the sun either, so she had to pull it across the sky for eternity.

What to do on søndag: Thinking about poor Sol and her heavy burden, this is still the best day to rest. Some people go to church, and others make it their family day. Like a good Norwegian, go out in nature and enjoy the sunshine this summer!

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE:

1. Lørdag is traditionally the day for:
a. Reading a book
b. Washing your hair and clothes
c. Baking cookies
d. Taking a hike

2. Odin was the god of:
a. War
b. Poetry
c. Knowledge
d. All of the above

3. Sol was the sister of:
a. Tor
b. Odin
c. Mani
d. Tyr

4. The god of thunder was called:
a. Tyr
b. Odin
c. Mani
d. Tor

5. Tyr was the god of:
a. Love
b. War
c. Washing
d. The Sun

6. The day of witches and magic is:
a. mandag
b. onsdag
c. lørdag
d. torsdag

7. Søndag is associated with:
a. The Sun
b. Sons
c. Magic
d. Knowledge

Click here for the answers

This article originally appeared in the June 1, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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