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This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
- Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Mystery of Thursday

Do you ever get that feeling? A feeling that you just get somedays? A feeling that you have when you wake up in the morning and that stays with you all day? A feeling that something's just off, that something's not quite right?

If you get that feeling often, about once a week, check the calendar, it may simply be Thursday. Yes, Thursday. Millions of people feel the effects of Thursday every week. It's not Friday yet and it's too late to keep surfing the wave from last weekend. Is it simply the place it has in the week? So close to the weekend, yet so far. Or is there something more? Is it a curse, a hex from thousands of years ago? No one really knows for sure, but the fact remains, Thursday is an odd day.

Origins and History

The name 'Thursday' derives from a mix of Classical and Norse mythology. The day was originally attributed to Jupiter (Zeus), who is often considered equivalent with Thor. Thus, when Jove's Day became assimilated into Norse mythology it was known as Thor's Day, which passed from the Germanic Anglo-Saxon from days of old into the modern Thursday.

In the Romance languages the word for Thursday derives directly from the Latin Jovis dies, 'Jove's Day'. The French jeudi, the Spanish jueves, and the Italian  giovedí have retained the initial 'j' or 'g' letters, but the etymological link is from Jupiter. The German word for Thursday, Donnerstag, literally means 'thunder day' and comes from Donner, another name for Thor.

Placement in the Week

Much of Thursday's nature may simply be due to its placement within the week. Other days have more straight-forward importance from their positions, but Thursday's placement is arguably the oddest of them all. By Thursday, people can be resentful of the week's length while not feeling Friday's proximity to the weekend as a counterbalance.

Significance of Thursday throughout History

Thursdays seem to pop up in completely unrelated places in history. The following are a few:

  • The Christian calendar marks two Thursdays, Jesus' last meal with the disciples (Holy or 'Maundy' Thursday) and the day he was taken up to Heaven (Ascension Thursday).

  • In days gone by, Ireland's shops closed at 9pm on Thursday, rather than 6pm as on other days.

  • In the USA, Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of November. In France, the third Thursday in November is known as La Fête des Vins Primeurs, to the rest of us it's known as Beaujolais Nouveau day when the first new wine of the year is finally released.

  • According to Genesis 1:20-3, on Thursday (the fifth day) God commanded the seas to bring forth the creatures of the world.

  • In the USA, Thursday night prime time television is often considered the most popular time block.

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