Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesday Fourth Day Religious Observances

Wednesday: Old English Wōdnesdæg (pronounced [ˈwoːdnezdæj]) meaning the day of the Germanic god Woden (known as Óðinn among the North Germanic peoples), and a prominent god of the Anglo-Saxons (and other Germanic peoples) in England until about the seventh century. It is also vaguely related to the Latin counterpart dies Mercurii, "Day of Mercury". The connection between Mercury and Odin is more strained than the other syncretic connections.The usual explanation is that both Wodan and Mercury were considered psychopomps, or guides of souls after death, in their respective mythologies; both are also associated with poetic and musical inspiration.The Icelandic Miðviku, German Mittwoch, Low German Middeweek and Finnish keskiviikko all mean mid-week.

  • The Creation narrative in the Hebrew Bible places the creation of the Sun and Moon on "the fourth day" of the divine workweek.
  • Quakers traditionally referred to Wednesday as "Fourth Day" to avoid the pagan associations the name "Wednesday" or in keeping with the practice of treating each day as equally divine.
  • The Eastern Orthodox Church observes Wednesday (as well as Friday) as a fast day throughout the year (with the exception of several fast-free periods during the year). Fasting on Wednesday and Fridays entails abstinence from meat or meat products (i.e., four-footed animals), poultry and dairy products. Unless a feast day occurs on a Friday, the Orthodox also abstain from fish, from using oil in their cooking and from alcoholic beverages (there is some debate over whether abstention from oil involves all cooking oil or only olive oil). For the Orthodox, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year commemorate the betrayal of Jesus (Wednesday) and the Crucifixion of Christ (Friday). There are hymns in the Octoekhos which reflect this liturgically. These include special Theotokia (hymns to the Mother of God) called Stavrotheotokia ("Cross-Theotokia"). The dismissal at the end of services on Wednesday begins with these words: "May Christ our true God, through the power of the precious and life-giving cross...."
  • In Irish and Scottish Gaelic, the name for Wednesday also refers to fasting, as it is Dé Céadaoin in Irish Gaelic and Di-Ciadain in Scottish Gaelic, which comes from chéad, "first" and aoine, "fasting" which means "first day of fasting".
  • In American culture many Catholic and Protestant churches schedule study or prayer meetings on Wednesday nights. The sports calendar in many American public schools reflects this, reserving Mondays and Thursdays for girls' games and Tuesdays and Fridays for boys' games while generally avoiding events on Wednesday evening.
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