Week Day SymbolsEdit This Page

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Today, there are eight names for the days of the week in standard German, Sonntag, Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag, Freitag, and Samstag or Sonnabend. Dialects have other names, but we will not concern ourselves with those names. However, in old documents, scribes often used symbols to indicate the days of the week instead of writing the entire name. These symbols are not abbreviations and each has other uses, such as representing metals and planets (hence, their association with the days of the week).  These images are from a church book in Bavaria from around 1715. The symbols are:

Sonntag  Sund xx.JPG  
This is simply a circle with a dot in the middle and represents the sun.
Montag  Mon xx.JPG
The crescent obviously represents the moon.
Dienstag   Tues xx.JPG
This symbol represents the Roman god of war, Mars/Germanic Tiw, and is also the symbol for ‘male.’
Mittwoch   Wedn xx.JPG
This rather interesting looking symbol represents Roman Mercury/Germanic Woden. It looks like the symbol for Friday with horns on the top.
Donnerstag   Thursday xx.JPG
The symbol for Thursday stands for Roman Jupiter/Germanic Thor.
Freitag Frid xx.JPG 
This symbol, a cross with a circle on top represents Roman Venus/Germanic Frigg and is the also the symbol for ‘female.’
Samstag/Sonnabend  Satur xx.JPG
This symbol represents the Roman god Saturn.

So, you might read Sun d 29ten Oktober, which means ‘Sonntag, den 29. Oktober.’

Images used by kind permission:

Zentralarchiv der Evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz, Abt. 45 Kirchenbücher: Ebernburg Nr. 1, 1681-1798.
Central Archives of the Evangelical Church of Palatine, Division 45 church books: Ebernburg No. 1, 1681-1798.


Click here for a detailed explanation with illustrations and here for computer-generated illustrations of these weekday symbols or here for the origin of the names of the week days.


 

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  • This page was last modified on 15 May 2012, at 17:10.
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