Week Day Symbols
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:
- This is simply a circle with a dot in the middle and represents the sun.
- The crescent obviously represents the moon.
- This symbol represents the Roman god of war, Mars/Germanic Tiw, and is also the symbol for ‘male.’
- This rather interesting looking symbol represents Roman Mercury/Germanic Wodin. It looks like the symbol for Friday with horns on the top.
- The symbol for Thursday stands for Roman Jupiter/Germanic Thor.
- This symbol, a cross with a circle on top represents Roman Venus/Germanic Frigg and is the also the symbol for ‘female.’
- This symbol represents the Roman god Saturn.
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.