Dias da Semana em Portugues

Language generally evolves slowly. New words appear and old-fashioned ones disappear from speech organically. Sometimes invaders supplant the local language with the tongue of their homelands, or immigrants bring vocabularies that get stirred into the local dialect. Sometimes, however, parts of the language change by decree. So it was for the Portuguese. 

In medieval times, the town of Dumium (now Dumio, a suburb of Braga) was a religious capital of the Sueves Kingdom. It had been founded by the Suevi escaping the Huns of what is now Germany and Austria in 463 AD. In the 6th century, Dumium received a missionary priest, named Martin (Saint Martin of Braga), who came from what is now Hungary.  Martin of Braga founded several monasteries and worked to convert the Suevi from their Arian beliefs to Roman Catholicism.  He was also a missionary against rural paganism. 

Martin was consecrated Bishop of Braga in 550 AD. As bishop, he was close to the king and had considerable power.  He used this leverage to pursued the king to change what was pagan in the local language -  most notably, the days of the week.  Other Latin-based and Germanic languages - including English - refer to both the moon and pagan gods in the days of the week.In English, these are: Sunday (the sun's day), Monday (the moon's day), Tuesday (Tor's day, for the Norse god of war - also known as Tiu or Twia among Germanic tribes), Wednesday (Woden's day - for Odin, the Norse messenger to the gods), Thursday (Thor's day, after the Norse god of thunder and lightning), Friday (Freya'd day, for the wife of Woden and the Norse goddess of love), and Saturday (Saturn’s Day, for Saturn, a Roman god associated with wealth, plenty and time).  In Latin, they arediēs Sōlis (for Sōl, the sun ), diēs Lūnae (for Luna, the moon), diēs Mārtis (for Mars), diēs Mercuriī (for Mercurius, or Mercury)diēs Iovis (for Iuppiter, or Jupiter), diēs Veneris (for Venus), and diēs Saturnī (for Saturnus, or Saturn).To wipe out these pagan references, it was decreed that the days of the week in the Portuguese kingdom would be:
  • Domingo (Sunday), God's day, and the first day of the week.
  • Segunda-feira (Monday), meaning the second fair or market day of the week. 
  • Terça-feira  (Tuesday), the third fair/market day.
  • Quarta-feira (Wednesday), the fourth fair/market day.
  • Quinta-feira (Thursday), the fifth fair/market day.
  • Sexta-feira (Friday), the sixth fair/market day.
  • Sábado (Saturday), the sabbath, or seventh day of the week.
In daily conversations, people usually drop the word "feira", because it's understood that "segunda" means "segunda-feira".In written language, the days are often shown Segunda-feira - 2ª; Terça-feira - 3ª; Quarta-feira - 4ª; Quinta-feira - 5ª; Sexta-feira - 6ª; Sábado - Sab.; and Domingo - Dom. A shop sign might read: Aberto de 2ª a 6ª das 9.00 às 18.00. - Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In my experience, however, if it is a restaurant, it will be closed on a random day (usually 2ª or 3ª) and will also be closed between 14.00 and 19.00 (restaurants close between lunch and the civilized dinner hour of 7 p.m.).


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