TGIF: It's all about Friday. Origins and customs.

Frigg, the goddess of love, marriage, and destiny.
The Goddess Frigg

Goddess of love, Marriage, fertility and destiny.
The word Friday, in olde English, is derived from her name.

All the world loves a Friday, the working world that is, my daughter Nais, is no exception, she eagerly anticipates this last day of the working week.

She loves her job but loves weekends more!

We’ve set up quite a tradition:

 “The Friday Picture”

Friday Picture
Friday Picture

He just told her it's Friday!

Every Friday, (When I remember), I post a picture to her Facebook timeline, if I forget, she becomes quite miffed!

More often than not, I will receive a message; “Where’s my Friday Pic?”

 “The Friday Picture” has become the start to her weekend, so Nais, I dedicate this post to you, here is all you ever wanted to know about Fridays!


My daugter and Friday fiend!

Nais lives in Aghia Paraskevi, Saint Friday, a suburb of Northern Athens, named after the main church of the town, Saint Paraskevi of Rome.

How fabulous is that? To live in a place named after the day you adore, Friday!

Saint Paraskevi, feast day July 26th.
Saint Paraskevi, feast day July 26th.

"Saint Friday was born near Rome (117-138 AD). Her parents were Christians, of Greek origin, who prayed for a child, and God finally blessed them.
   Being born on a Friday, the day of the Lord’s suffering; they named her Paraskevi ("Friday" in Greek, but literally "preparation").
 Even after terrible torture at the hands of Emperor Antoninus, Paraskevi would not denounce her faith.
 While boiling her in oil, Antonius was blinded by the steam.
 Paraskevi said “Emperor, the Christian God is healing you from the blindness that was given to you as a punishment”.
Immediately, he regained his sight. Humbled by the miracle he freed her, which is why one of her symbols is a pair of eyes."

Origins of the word Friday

In Greek, the word for Friday is Paraskevi, meaning “to prepare".

Like Saturday (Sabbato, Sabbath) and Sunday (Kyriaki, Day of The Lord) Friday has a religious significance, a day of preparation for the Sabbath, inherited by the Greek Orthodox culture from Jewish practices.

In English, the word Friday comes from  an olde English word Frigedaeg;

 “Day of Frige”

This relates to the Norse Goddess, Frigg, and the Roman Goddess, Venus.

Frigga was the goddess of love, marriage, and destiny.
Frigga, the goddess of love, marriage, and destiny.

 She was the wife of the powerful Norse god Odin, The All-Father. 
A sky goddess, responsible for weaving the clouds (and therefore for sunshine and rain and the fertility of the crops), she was also responsible for weaving the fates.
She was known as a 'seer', one who knew the future though she could never change it.

In old German, Friday is Friatag, in modern German, Freitag and in Dutch it is Vrijdag.

Friday is named after the Roman Goddess Venus, (Aphrodite in Greek mythology), in France, Italy and  Spain.

 Latin “Dies Veneris” or “The Day of Venus”.

Vendredi, French, Venerdi, Italian, and Viernes, Spanish.

It’s interesting, that in Celtic Welsh, Friday is “Dydd Gwener” meaning;

 “The Day of Venus”

Goddess Venus
Goddess Venus

"The Birth of Venus"
Sandro Botticelli.

"Venus is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and desire. In Roman mythology, she was the mother of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy."
Portugal, uses, neither a word derived from the Goddess Frigg, nor a word derived from the Goddess Venus, but uses instead, the word


meaning “The sixth day of liturgical celebration”

In Portugal, it was not allowed to devote days to pagan gods.

Another exception is Sardinia, where Friday is called Chenapura.


Sardinia the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and before Cyprus),
 and an autonomous region of Italy.

  Chenapura is not a Latin word derived from Venus, but from the Latin, Cena Pura, given by the Jewish community, exiled to the island, meaning, pure dinner or pure supper, food specifically prepared for the Sabbath.

Most Slavic languages call Friday “The Fifth Day”

In Arabic, the word Friday, al-jum'ah ( الجمعة ) is derived from the word meaning;
 “To congregate” or “To gather”

In most other Islamic countries, outside the Arab world, the word Friday is derived from the Indonesian, Jumat.

In Turkish Friday is Cuma.

In most Indian languages, Shukraver, named for Shukra, Venus in Sanskrit, is the word for Friday.

In Japanese, Friday is Kinyobi, again, meaning Venus.

In most Indian languages, the word for Friday is Shukraver, named for Shukra, the Sanskrit word for Venus.

Venus, known as Shukra in Hindu mythology.

 Known as Shukra in Hindu mythology.

It's extremely thought provoking, that, in so many countries, on different continents and thousands of miles away from each other, and, in so many different cultures and religions, the word for Friday, originates from the same Goddess:


Fridays and religion

In Islam, Friday begins at sundown on Thursday, and ends at sundown on Friday, and is the equal to Sunday in Christianity.

In Judaism, Sabbath, (Saturday) begins on Friday evening and ends on Saturday evening) again, equal to Sunday in Christianity.

As you can see, the three Abrahamic religions have three different days of the week as their day of worship;

Islam, Friday
Judaism, Saturday
Christianity, Sunday

Quakers traditionally referred to Friday as “The Sixth Day”, showing the pagan origins of the word. (Frigga, Friday, sixth day of the week)

In Hindu, on Fridays, there are celebrations for the Goddesses Durga and Lakshmi.


"In Hinduism, Goddess Durga is the mother of the universe.
  Believed to be the power behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction of the world.
 She has been worshiped as the supreme power of the Supreme Being and has been mentioned in many scriptures."

Friday is also a day of atonement; traditionally, Christians don’t eat meat on Fridays.

Most Anglicans, especially Anglo Catholics, refrain from having sex, either on all Fridays, or Fridays in Lent.

Friday 13th

Friday 13th
Friday 13th

Unlucky for some!

Some cultures consider Fridays to be unlucky, especially in seafaring communities, where it’s thought unlucky to begin a journey on Fridays.

Admiral William Henry Smyth, in his nautical dictionary;

“The Sailors Word Book"

calls Friday “Dies Infaustus” meaning, "unlucky day", this may have been the cause of the urban legend of HMS Friday.

All sailors were afraid to set foot aboard a ship which was to begin its journey on a Friday, even more so after reading Smyth’s book.

See more about Admiral William Henry Smyth's book, “The Sailors Word Book" HERE 

 To overcome this superstition, the Royal Navy decided to dispel the myth. 

In the 1800s, they built a ship and named it the H.M.S. Friday, selected its first crew on a Friday and even chose a man named James Friday to be Captain.

 One Friday morning the ship set sail on its maiden voyage and was never seen again.

HMS Friday
HMS Friday

No such ship ever existed.
There has never been any Royal Navy ship named HMS Friday.
 It’s not known where the story originated!

Friday 13th is considered even more unlucky, due to the combination of Friday and the unlucky number 13.

Not so though in The Hebrides, here, it is a lucky day for sowing seeds, and Good Friday is an exceptionally good day for planting potatoes, even strict Roman Catholics plant potatoes on that day!

The Hebrides The Fairy Pools
Isle of Skye, The Hebrides
The Fairy Pools

"The Hebrides are a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland. There are two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides. These islands have a long history of occupation dating back to the Mesolithic, and the culture of the residents has been affected by the successive influences of Celtic, Norse, and English-speaking peoples."

There is an actual word for the fear of Friday 13th;


Try and get your tongue round that!

The superstition started in The Middle Ages, deriving from the last supper and crucifixion of Jesus.

Thirteen people, on the thirteenth day of Nisan (First month of the Hebrew calendar).

Also, most people believe that Jesus died on a Friday.

crucifixion of Jesus
crucifixion of Jesus

"Good Friday is a Christian religious holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday proceeding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Black Friday, or Easter Friday."

Another suggestion is that the superstition arises from the fact, that on Friday 13th 1307, Philip IV of France, arrested hundreds of Knights Templar, along with their leader, Jacques de Molay, and had them put to death.

Jacques de Molay
Jacques de Molay

 "Some believe that the arrest of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and 60 of his senior knights on Friday, October 13, 1307 by King Philip IV of France is the origin of the Friday 13th superstition. That day thousands of Templars were arrested and tortured. They then ‘confessed’ and were executed. From that day on, Friday the 13th was considered by followers of the Templars as an evil and unlucky day."

Greeks and Italians consider Tuesday 13th unlucky, Tuesday being the day dominated by Aries, God of War.

The Fall of Constantinople, during the 4th crusade, occurred on Tuesday 13th April 1204, and, the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans, on Tuesday 29th May 1453.


"Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman/Byzantine (330–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin (1204–1261), and the Ottoman (1453–1924) empires It was re-inaugurated in 324 AD at ancient Byzantium, as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, and dedicated on 11 May 330. "

In Greece, the name for Tuesday is Triti, (The third day), which adds credence to the notion that bad luck comes in threes!

And then there's "Casual Friday"

Casual Friday
Casual Friday

Some people just don't do casual!

Be one of them Nais.

Be different!
So, there you are Nais, you now know, all there is to know, about your favourite day of the week, Friday.

Wasn’t this better than your usual “Friday Picture”?

I’ll say one thing here; “The Friday Picture” is much, much easier!

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