Wednesday

Today, September 23rd is Wednesday

Wednesday is the day of the week between Tuesday and Thursday – and for a long time it was exactly in the middle of the week. Now, in accordance with ISO 8601, most countries treat Wednesday as the third day of the week.

Etymology

Slavic languages have a distinctive etymology of the name Wednesday – it is based on the biblical nomenclature, where Sunday is the first day of the week. In such a sequence Wednesday falls exactly in the middle of the week – with three days before, and three days after it. For this reason, in Slavic languages Wednesday can be translated as “the middle” - in Polish: “środa”; in Russian: “среда, sreda”; in Belarusian: “серада, serada”. In other countries, however, the name of Wednesday is rooted in the Roman mythology. The Romans believed that every day of the week has its patron – a god and a planet. Wednesday was the day of Mercury, the god of financial gain and commerce. This belief is reflected in the Spanish (“miércoles”), French (“mercredi”), Italian (“mercoledì") or Sicilian (“mercoledì") name. Nordic and Germanic countries, however, have decided to change Mercury into a god from their own mythology. They chose Odin, also known as Woden, who was then interpreted as the “Germanic Mercury”. For this reason, in those languages the name of the day was connected with the name Woden: in English – Wednesday; in Dutch – woensdag. In Germany a similar name was applied until the 10th century - “Wodanstag”, but later it was changed to the Slavic nomenclature suggesting the middle position in the week - “Mittwoch”, which is also the only day of the German week that does not end with “tag”. In some languages, on the other hand, the name indicates the fourth position of Wednesday in the week. In Portugal, for example, Wednesday is called “quarta-feira”, and in Greek - “Τετάρτη, Tetárti”, which simply means “the fourth”.

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Interesting facts

Wednesday in Modern Culture

Even though in most countries of the world Wednesday is not perceived as the middle of the week, it is usually the middle of a typical work week. This is why in North America it is often called “hump day”. However, Wednesday is also associated with fasting in the Eastern Orthodox Church – on that day throughout the year, with several exceptions, people are not allowed to eat meat, poultry, and dairy products. Western Christians, on the other hand, observe Ash Wednesday as the beginning of Lent – a 40-day period of fasting that ends before Easter Sunday. On that day religious leaders place ashes on the believers’ foreheads as a symbol of repentance. The Wednesday before Easter is also known as “Spy Wednesday”, which refers to Judas’s betrayal of Jesus. Wednesday is definitely an important day of the week for all football lovers – it is traditionally the day of the Champions League matches. Another important Wednesday in the modern culture is known as Red Wednesday. This name can actually be connected with two observations: 1) the Yezidi festival celebrated in Iraq; 2) an event observed by religious institutions that draws attention to the persecution and oppression of Christians.

Historical Wednesdays

There were some Wednesdays in the history of the world that will be remembered as special. One of them was July 20, 1969, when the Apollo 11 mission had started – a successful mission aiming at landing the first men on the Moon. In the same year, on October 29, the University of California, Los Angeles, has sent the first message through the ARPANET – the forefather of the Internet. On May 10, 1797, the first U.S. Navy Ship,” The United States,” was launched. In Australia, however, there was one Wednesday that brought a lot of damage to the country. On February 16, 1983, a series of over 100 bushfires had started there. 75 people were killed, over 2,600 were injured, and nearly 9,000 homes were damaged.

Did you know?

There was a character in the Addams Family films called Wednesday Addams. This name is connected with the nursery rhyme Monday’s Child, which says “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.” In Burma, on the other hand, when a child is born on a Wednesday before midday, it is traditionally given a name starting with one of four letters of the alphabet known as Boudehunan.