Ancient Finns have followed the passage of time by observing the phases of the moon. An ancient legacy month has marked both the celestial body and the moon. Instead, the seven-day week and the names of the days have been adopted by the Germanic neighbors at the same time as Christianity.
Dividing time into seven-day weeks is an older cancellation than Christianity. It was known to many ancient cultural peoples who knew how to write, read, count, and make observations about the movements of celestial bodies. These included, for example, the Babylonians and their Hebrew-speaking language relatives, later known as Jews.
The Romans abandoned the eight-day period inherited from the Etruscans and introduced the same system in the first Christian centuries. They gave the days names according to astrologically significant celestial bodies. They were the sun, the moon, and the five visible planets, which in turn were named after the ancient gods.
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The same practice passed to the Germans, who replaced the Roman gods with their own gods. So the days of the sun and moon followed Tyrin day, Odin day, Torin day and Friggin day i.e. modern Swedish Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Saturn-planet day was replaced by a bath day, in ancient Gothic laugadagr.
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The Finns have adapted the names of the days to the pronunciation of their own language, but otherwise they have only been names.
At the end –or is understood to be the same word for the day as Swedish tag, but the first part has remained obscure.
There are no signs of a desire to replace one’s own gods. Remember the anomaly Wednesday is a translation loan, apparently modeled on Central German mitwēke (n), midweek (s).
The nomenclature is still alive in the early days, judging by the inability to demonstrate any particular Germanic language form from which the entire present series would have been borrowed as such. Alternatives include West and North Germanic languages of different ages, such as Ancient Saxon, Middle German, Ancient Scandinavian, and Ancient Swedish dialects.
Finding original forms is made more difficult by the fact that words that appear in series can affect each other’s shape. In any case, the series of names was ready at the stage when a common literary language for all Finns was born in the 16th century.
Kaisa Häkkinen is an academician and professor emeritus of the Finnish language at the University of Turku.
Published in Science Journal 7/2021
Source: Tiede by www.tiede.fi.
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