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Saturnus, Caravaggio, 16th century

Saturday is the day of the week between Friday and Sunday. No later than the 2nd century, the Romans named Saturday diēs Sāturnī ("Saturn's Day") for the planet Saturn, which controlled the first hour of that day, according to Vettius Valens.[1][2] The day's name was introduced into West Germanic languages and is recorded in the Low German languages such as Middle Low German satersdach, saterdach, Middle Dutch saterdag (Modern Dutch zaterdag), and Old English Sæternesdæġ, Sæterndæġ or Sæterdæġ.[3]


Saturday is named after the planet Saturn, which in turn was named after the Roman god Saturn

Between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, the Roman Empire gradually replaced the eight-day Roman nundinal cycle with the seven-day week. The astrological order of the days was explained by Vettius Valens and Dio Cassius (and Chaucer gave the same explanation in his Treatise on the Astrolabe). According to these authors, it was a principle of astrology that the heavenly bodies presided, in succession, over the hours of the day. The association of the weekdays with the respective deities is thus indirect, the days are named for the planets, which were in turn named for the deities.

The Germanic peoples adapted the system introduced by the Romans but glossed their indigenous gods over the Roman deities in a process known as interpretatio germanica. In the case of Saturday, however, the Roman name was borrowed directly by West Germanic peoples, apparently because none of the Germanic gods was considered to be a counterpart of the Roman god Saturn. Otherwise Old Norse and Old High German did not borrow the name of the Roman god (Icelandic laugardagur, German Samstag).

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saturdays are days on which the Theotokos (Mother of God) and All Saints are commemorated, and the day on which prayers for the dead are especially offered, in remembrance that it was on a Saturday that Jesus lay dead in the tomb. The Octoechos contains hymns on these themes, arranged in an eight-week cycle, that are chanted on Saturdays throughout the year. At the end of services on Saturday, the dismissal begins with the words: "May Christ our True God, through the intercessions of his most-pure Mother, of the holy, glorious and right victorious Martyrs, of our reverend and God-bearing Fathers…". For the Orthodox, Saturday — with the sole exception of Holy Saturday — is never a strict fast day. When a Saturday falls during one of the fasting seasons (Great Lent, Nativity Fast, Apostles' Fast, Dormition Fast) the fasting rules are always lessened to an extent. The Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the Beheading of St. John the Baptist are normally observed as strict fast days, but if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the fast is lessened.

Name and associations


Today, Saturday has two names in modern Standard German. The first word, Samstag, is always used in Austria, Liechtenstein, and the German-speaking part of Switzerland, and generally used in southern and western Germany. It derives from Old High German sambaztac, the first part (sambaz) of which derives from Greek Σάββατο, sávvato and this Greek word derives from Hebrew שבת, Shabbat. However, the current German word for Sabbath is Sabbat. The second name for Saturday in German is Sonnabend, which derives from Old High German sunnunaband, and is closely related to the Old English word sunnanæfen. It means literally "Sun eve", i.e., "The day before Sunday". Sonnabend is generally used in northern and eastern Germany, and was also the official name for Saturday in East Germany. Even if these two names are used regionally differently, they are usually understood at least passively in the other part.

In West Frisian there are also two words for Saturday. In Wood Frisian it is saterdei, and in Clay Frisian it is sneon, derived from snjoen, a combination of Old Frisian sunne, meaning sun and joen, meaning eve.

In the Westphalian dialects of Low Saxon, in East Frisian Low Saxon and in the Saterland Frisian language, Saturday is called Satertag, also akin to Dutch zaterdag, which has the same linguistic roots as the English word Saturday. It was formerly thought that the English name referred to a deity named Sætere who was venerated by the pre-Christian peoples of north-western Germany, some of whom were the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons. Sætere was identified as either a god associated with the harvest of possible Slav origin,[4] or another name for Loki[5] a complex deity associated with both good and evil; this latter suggestion may be due to Jacob Grimm.[6] However, modern dictionaries derive the name from Saturn.[7][8][9][10]

In most languages of India, Saturday is Shanivāra, vāra meaning day, based on Shani, the Hindu god manifested in the planet Saturn. Some Hindus fast on Saturdays to reverse the ill effects of Shani as well as pray to and worship the deity Hanuman.[11][12] In the Thai solar calendar of Thailand, the day is named from the Pali word for Saturn, and the color associated with Saturday is purple.[citation needed] In Pakistan, Saturday is Hafta, meaning the week. In Eastern Indian languages like Bengali Saturday is called শনিবার, Shonibar meaning Saturn's Day and is the first day of the Bengali Week in the Bengali calendar. In Islamic countries, Fridays are considered as the last or penultimate day of the week and are holidays along with Thursdays or Saturdays; Saturday is called سبت, Sabt (cognate to Sabbath) and it is the first day of the week in many Arab countries but the Last Day in other Islamic countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Central Asian countries.

In Japanese, the word Saturday is 土曜日, doyōbi, meaning 'soil day' and is associated with 土星, dosei: Saturn (the planet), literally meaning "soil star". Similarly, in Korean the word Saturday is 토요일, tho yo il, also meaning earth day. The element Earth was associated with the planet Saturn in Chinese astrology and philosophy.

The modern Māori name for Saturday, rāhoroi, literally means "washing-day" – a vestige of early colonized life when Māori converts would set aside time on the Saturday to wash their whites for Church on Sunday.[13] A common alternative Māori name for Saturday is the transliteration hātarei.

Quakers traditionally referred to Saturday as "Seventh Day", eschewing the "pagan" origin of the name.[14]

In Scandinavian countries, Saturday is called lördag, lørdag, or laurdag, the name being derived from the old word laugr/laug (hence Icelandic name Laugardagur), meaning bath, thus Lördag equates to bath-day. This is due to the Viking practice of bathing on Saturdays.[15] The roots lör, laugar and so forth are cognate to the English word lye, in the sense of detergent. The Finnish and Estonian names for the day, lauantai and laupäev, respectively, are also derived from this term.

Position in the week


The international standard ISO 8601 sets Saturday as the sixth day of the week.[16] The three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) regard Saturday as the seventh day of the week. As a result, many refused the ISO 8601 standards and continue to use Saturday as their seventh day.

Saturday Sabbath


For Jews, Messianics, Seventh Day Baptists and Seventh-day Adventists, the seventh day of the week, known as Shabbat (or Sabbath for Seventh-day Adventists), stretches from sundown Friday to nightfall Saturday and is the day of rest. Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches distinguish between Saturday (Sabbath) and the Lord's Day (Sunday). Other Protestant groups, such as Seventh-day Adventists, hold that the Lord's Day is the Sabbath, according to the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8), and not Sunday.

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.

— Exodus 20:10 King James Version

Holy Saturday


Christian religious observance in the Holy Week, before Easter Sunday.

Catholic liturgy and devotions on each Saturday


In the Catholic Church, Saturday is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.[17]

In the Catholic devotion of the Holy Rosary, the Joyful Mysteries are meditated on Saturday and also on Monday throughout the year.



In astrology, Saturn is associated with Saturday, its planet's symbol , and the astrological signs Capricorn and Aquarius.


Regional customs



  • The amount of criminal activities that take place on Saturday nights has led to the expression, "Saturday night special", a pejorative slang term used in the United States and Canada for any inexpensive handgun.

Arts, entertainment, and media


Comics and periodicals




Folk rhymes and folklore

  • In the folk rhyme Monday's Child, "Saturday's child works hard for a living".
  • In another rhyme reciting the days of the week, Solomon Grundy "Died on Saturday".
  • In folklore, Saturday was the preferred day to hunt vampires, because on that day they were restricted to their coffins. It was also believed in the Balkans that someone born on Saturday could see a vampire when it was otherwise invisible, and that such people were particularly apt to become vampire hunters.[24][25] Accordingly, in this context, people born on Saturday were specially designated as sabbatianoí in Greek[26] and sâbotnichavi in Bulgarian;[25] the term has been rendered in English as "Sabbatarians".[26]





Video games




See also



  1. ^ Falk, Michael (June 1999), "Astronomical Names for the Days of the Week", Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, 93: 122–133, Bibcode:1999JRASC..93..122F
  2. ^ Vettius Valens (2010) [150–175], Anthologies (PDF), translated by Riley, Mark, Sacramento State, pp. 11–12
  3. ^ Hoad, TF, ed. (1993). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford University Press. p. 418a. ISBN 0-19-283098-8.
  4. ^ Palgrave, Francis, History of the Anglo-Saxons (1876), William Tegg & Co., London p.43
  5. ^ Couzens, Reginald C., The Stories of the Months and Days (1923), ch.22
  6. ^ Grimm, Jacob, Teutonic Mythology (1835), translated by James Steven Stallybrass in 1882 from Deutsche Mythologie, George Bell, London, p. 247.
  7. ^ "Saturday", Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition (2008).
  8. ^ "Saturday", Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2013).
  9. ^ "Saturday", American Heritage Dictionary, Fifth Edition (2011).
  10. ^ "Saturday". Online Etymology Dictionary, accessed 2013.
  11. ^ "Hindu Fasting".
  12. ^ "Weekly Rituals in the Practice of Hinduism".
  13. ^ Rāhoroi - Saturday, Kupu o te Rā
  14. ^ "Guide to Quaker Calendar Names". Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Retrieved 30 March 2017. In the 20th Century, many Friends began accepting use of the common date names, feeling that any pagan meaning has been forgotten. The numerical names continue to be used, however, in many documents and more formal situations."
  15. ^ Wolf, Kirsten, 1959– (2018). The Vikings : facts and fictions. Mueller-Vollmer, Tristan. Santa Barbara, California. ISBN 9781440862984. OCLC 1035771932.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ "ISO 8601-1:2019(en) Date and time — Representations for information interchange — Part 1: Basic rules". www.iso.org. Retrieved 2024-05-14.
  17. ^ "Aleteia".
  18. ^ "Electoral Act 1992, s.100–101". www6.austlii.edu.au. 1992. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  19. ^ "Basic Law: Israel – the Nation State of the Jewish People" (PDF). knesset.gov.il. 19 July 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Holidays in Nepal". bharatonline.com. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  21. ^ "Electoral Act 1993, section 139(1)(b)". www.legislation.govt.nz. 1993. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  22. ^ Mildner, Anders (26 January 2014). "Godis är inget vi skojar om" [Candy is nothing we joke about]. Sydsvenskan (in Swedish). Malmö, Sweden. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  23. ^ "State of Louisiana Election Code, §402. Dates of primary and general elections" (PDF). www.sos.la.gov. 2018. pp. 91–93. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  24. ^ McClelland, Bruce A. (2006). Slayers and Their Vampires: A Cultural History of Killing the Dead. University of Michigan. pp. 62–79. ISBN 978-0-472-06923-1.
  25. ^ a b Димитрова, Иваничка (1983). "Българска народна митология" (in Bulgarian). Archived from the original on 2016-03-08.
  26. ^ a b Abbott, George F. (1903). "Macedonian Folklore". Nature. 69 (1780): 221–222. Bibcode:1903Natur..69Q.125.. doi:10.1038/069125a0. S2CID 3987217. In Summers, Montague (2008) [1929]. The Vampire: His Kith and Kin. Forgotten Books. p. 36. ISBN 9781605065663.
  27. ^ Silverman, Jerry (1993). Songs That Made History Around the World. Mel Bay. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-56222-585-8. Retrieved 2012-07-30.