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Wednesday: Odin and Wodan's Day

Wednesday is the day third of the week according to the international standard ISO 8601, but some countries count it as the fourth day of the week.

Tree filled with an unkindness of ravens

Norse god Odin kept ravens.

Odin, the Norse allfather-god sent his two ravens Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory) to keep an eye on people on Earth.

©iStockphoto.com/drakuliren

Wednesday is the day between Tuesday and Thursday. It is named after Germanic god Wodan and the Norse allfather of the gods, Odin.

Naming Wednesday

The English word Wednesday is derived from Old English and means “Wodan's day.” The Germanic god Wodan is also known as Odin, the Norse allfather of the gods.

In most languages with Latin origins, the day is named after the god and planet Mercury.

  • Middle English – Wodnesday or Wednesday or Wednesdai
  • Old English – Wōdnesdæg – Woden's day
  • Latin – dies Mercurii – Day of Mercury
  • Ancient Greek – hemera Hermu – Day of Hermes

Third or Fourth Weekday

According to the international standard ISO 8601, Wednesday is the third day of the week. However, in the US, Canada, and Japan, it's counted as the fourth day of the week.

It is in the middle of the common 5-day workweek that starts on Monday and ends on Friday.

Hump Day

It is also the middle day in the countries, including the US and Canada, where Sunday is considered the 1st and Saturday the last day of the 7-day week. This is why Wednesday is sometimes referred to as hump day in American English slang, meaning that one has made it “over the hump” of the week.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian tradition. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes Wednesday as a day of fast throughout the year.

Topics: Calendar, Weekdays

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