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Days of the Week

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Centerfield97, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. Centerfield97

    Centerfield97 Troubadour

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    I'm normally pretty good at worldbuilding, usually things just kind of flow out of my mind onto the page and I can create religions and families in hours, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to name the days of my world's week.

    So alas, I'd love to year what you all use to call the days of the week in your worlds :)
     
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I can't say I've thought about it much for my own worlds, but I do have a few questions and suggestions. Are your world's weeks the standard seven days long? If not, why? Is there a religious significance to it?

    For the names of the days themselves, you can think of things that are important to your world's cultures. A few of our own days of the week are named after various ancient gods -- Thursday = Thor's Day, Wednesday = Odin's Day, Saturday = Saturn's Day. There may be more, but those are the ones I can name offhand. Does your world have deities that could be used for this, or other important cultural things? Tolkien, for example, named the six days of the elvish week after the stars (Elenya), the Sun (Anarya), the Moon (Isilya), the Two Trees (Aldúya), the heavens (Menelya), and the Valar (Valanya). Later revisions of the calendar by the Númenoreans added a seventh day named after the sea (Eärenya), since those folk were skilled mariners. (Yes, I realize Tolkien is pretty much the default go-to example for any high fantasy question, but that was the only example of a book I could think of that actually did that.)
     
  3. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    I don't think most readers will so much as blink if you use real-world days of the week or even months, even though most of our calendar names come from Rome and Scandinavia. I think "October" is used in Lord of the Rings. Or perhaps that was only the movie.
     
  4. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    You're right, the real-world days for weeks and months are used in both the books and movies -- but then again, the books are supposedly translations from the original Westron, and even the characters' names are changed to sound more English. (Merry's actual name is Kalimac, and Frodo Baggins is Maura Labingi -- 'a' being a masculine rather than a feminine vowel. Bilbo's name in Westron is Bilba.) The elvish (and hobbitish) days of the week are given elsewhere, likely in the appendices.
     
  5. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    I remember naming them along time ago, but I don't have the notebooks I wrote them in anymore so guess it's time to rename them. My world has a slightly longer orbit than earth at 400 days (for ease of use). In antiquity, the number 10 had deep religious connotation in my world; for the ten old gods that they believed in. As a result they divided the year into ten months of forty days and each week is ten days to pay homage to the old gods. Even though most people don't realize where the concept comes from, they don't worry about it much.

    Ardreth
    Modrith
    Arisoth
    Jandret
    Kirsan
    Firovia
    Silavia
    Dirdrang
    Vharus
    Gurduhn
     
  6. Legal Rose

    Legal Rose Scribe

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    Yeah, I don't want to go off on a tangent (even though I'm about to), but anything involving time in a fantasy setting always starts to drive me nuts.

    For instance, I think everyone's gut instinct is to base a fantasy calendar after Earth's calendar. But I've had settings locked in perpetual twilight, without any sort of day-night cycle. And there are other settings where the light source isn't cosmic in nature, it's just a glowing luminescent cloud overhead that brightens and dims every day - how would you measure years in those circumstances? I don't know, it just seems like an interesting problem.


    Okay, but I should really answer the original question... I'd say that some of your main options are
    -naming each day after a God
    -naming each day after an ancient ruler
    -naming each day after it's function (for instance, in Scandinavian countries Saturday translates literally to "Bath Day", since that used to be the designated day for bathing. Likewise, the term for Sunday in many languages often reflects its role as the Sabbath or the first day of the week)
     
  7. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    The main calendar in my WIP, the one used by the humans, is the same as in the real world. There are 12 months a year and 7 days in a week. The months and days are named the same as in the real world.

    I don't know why weeks in the real world are seven days. I know the months correspond to the moon in some way, but I don't think there's an astronomical reason for the week being seven days long. Rather, I think it's more of a practical reason; in old times working six days and then having one day off was convenient. These days it's working five days and having 2 days off which is convenient. It may be there are other ways that would be more efficient, but 7 day weeks are so rooted in our minds that it would be practically impossible to change it.

    I chose the same for the dominant calendar in the world I'm crafting. There's an exception though; the hobbits (name to be changed) are using an eight-day week. In this eight-day week there are five days for working, one day for tending to the home and two days for resting. I named them as follows:
    -Truthsday (Monday) - so named as this is when you hear the truth of what occurred on the Feastday
    -Infday (Tuesday) - I don't actually remember why I named it like this.
    -Annsday (Wednesday) - Anna is the goddess who created the hobbits and this is her day.
    -Pipesday (Thursday) - This is the day for smoking the pipe.
    -Ladysday (Friday) - After five days of tending the home and the family it's the women's turn to have some time off and meet at the pub.
    -Choresday - This is the day for taking care of all the chores in the home that haven't been done during the week.
    -Feastday (Saturday) - Day for celebration
    -Restday (Sunday) - Day for recovering from the celebrations.
     
  8. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    The seven-day week has a firm basis in Judeo-Christian theology. According to the book of Genesis, God created the universe in six days, and rested on the seventh; this is why the Jews and Christians each have one day of rest in the week, set aside as the Sabbath, a day devoted to God. For Christians it's Sunday; for Jews it's Friday (I think).
     
  9. mbartelsm

    mbartelsm Troubadour

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    Everyone here mentions a 6, 7 or 8 day week, but why? real world weeks are seven days because of the Genesis book and other religious reasons. I believe it's better if you avoid naming a seven day week if there isn't really a reason for it being seven days long, otherwise you'd be making a judeo-christian calendar

    In my world weeks are seven days on the week because there are seven gods.
    One week is dedicated to the Light titan, the other to the Shadow titan.
    Seven weeks are a month, marking the cycle from full moon to new moon and again full moon (light-dark-light).
    Since seven is an odd number, one moth is dedicated to the light titan and the other to the shadow titan.
    The same goes for years (seven months, one "light year" and one "shadow year").
    And the entire numeric system is based on the seven.
     
  10. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Actually the Sabbath is Saturday.
     
    Ireth likes this.
  11. Legal Rose

    Legal Rose Scribe

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    All things considered, I think those numbers probably should be the most common ones.

    If a week's excessively long or short it would seem kind of weird, and I'm not sure there'd be any point to having named days in the first place. So if I had to guess I'd say that it makes the most sense to have a week that's somewhere between 5 and 10 days in length. And yeah, I'm basing all this on absolutely nothing.
     
  12. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    You're right. I took Judaic Studies last year, I should've remembered that Jewish days begin at sundown, so Friday evening = the start of the Sabbath. Thanks for correcting me. :)
     
  13. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    No problem. I happen to be a Christian who keeps the original Sabbath instead of Sunday.
     
  14. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    It's also related to the moon (the easiest way to divide up a year) taking 28-ish days per cycle, so 4 weeks fit into each of those. Later calendars used irregular months so that months fit years rather than weeks.

    Related point: most cultures do have a "sabbath" or weekly day of rest from work (at least in theory), except those like China that pepper the whole year with holidays. So a one-per-seven cycle seems to work pretty well for the human system.

    (Which isn't to say that the moon coudn't put everything on a cycle of 8 or 5 days...)
     
  15. Snowpoint

    Snowpoint Sage

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    I know about Oneday, Twosday, Threeday, Foursday, Fivesday, Sixaday, Sevenday

    It works out rather well.
     
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