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Wednesday (ˈwɛnzdeɪ, ˈwɛnzdi, ˈwɛdənzdeɪ, ˈwɛdənzdi) is a day of the week in the Gregorian calendar. According to international standard ISO 8601, it is the third day of the week. This day is between Tuesday and Thursday.

Etymology

The name comes from the Middle English Wednes dei, which is from Old English Wōdnesdæg, meaning the day of the English god Woden (Wodan), a god in Anglo-Saxon England until about the 7th century. Wēdnes dæg is like the Old Norse Oðinsdagr ("Odin's day"), which is an early translation of the Latin dies Mercurii ("Mercury's day"), and reflects the widespread association of Woden with Mercury going back to Tacitus.

In Romance languages, it is derived from the name of the Roman god Mercury: mercredi (French), mercoledì (Italian), miércoles (Spanish), miercuri (Romanian), dimecres (Catalan), Marcuri or Mercuri (Corsican), dies Mercurii (Latin). Similarly, in most of the Indian languages the name for Wednesday, Budhavar is derived from the Vedic name for the planet, Budha (often confused with Gautama Buddha.) Buddh is also used in Urdu. Russian does not use religious names but instead uses sredá, meaning "middle," similar to the German Mittwoch. Likewise, Portuguese uses the word quarta-feira, meaning "fourth day". While in Greek the word is Tetarti(Τετάρτη) meaning simply "fourth." Similarly, Arabic أربعاء means "fourth", Hebrew רביעי means "fourth" and Persian چهارشنبه means "fourth day."

Position in the week

When Sunday is taken as the first of every week, the day in the middle of each week is Wednesday. Arising from this, the German name for Wednesday has been Mittwoch (literally: "mid-week") since the 10th Century, having displaced the former name: Wodanstag ("Wodan's day"). The Finnish name is similar: Keskiviikko (literally: "middle of the week") as is the Icelandic name: Miðvikudagur ("Mid-week day"). Wednesday is "sereda" in Ukrainian, which has the same word base as "seredyna", which is translated as "middle". In Czech, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Wednesday is středa, środa, sreda, and "среда" (from střed, środek, sred, and "середина", respectively), and similarly in other Slavic languages, meaning "in the middle".

Wednesday is also in the middle of the common Western five-day workweek that starts on Monday and finishes on Friday.

Religious observances

Quakers traditionally refer to Wednesday as "Fourth Day", eschewing the pagan origin of the name "Wednesday". Most eastern languages also use a name with this meaning, for much the same reason.

The Eastern Orthodox Church observe 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 Jews' 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 aoine, "fasting" and means "first day of fasting".

Many Catholic and Protestant churches also have services or a Bible study on Wednesday. Some U.S. high schools have had a custom of scheduling sporting events on Monday and Thursday for girls' games, Tuesday and Friday for boys' games, and leave Wednesday evenings free partially for this reason.

According to the Hebrew Bible, Wednesday is the day when the Sun and Moon were created.

Cultural references

An American English idiom for Wednesday is "hump day", a reference to making it through to the middle of the work week as getting "over the hump."

In the folk rhyme, "Wednesday's child is full of woe". In another rhyme reciting the days of the week, Solomon Grundy was 'Married on Wednesday.' In Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, the disagreeable nature of the weather is attributed to it being "Winds-Day" (a play on "Wednesday"). In Richard Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar Wednesday is the day when the sun shines grey.

Wednesday is used as a character's first or last name in several narrative works, including Thursday's fictions by Richard James Allen, Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods, and the 1960's television show, The Addams Family.

In the 1945 John Steinbeck novel Sweet Thursday, the titular day is preceded by "Lousy Wednesday".

A song titled "Wednesday's Song" is on the 2004 album Shadows Collide with People by John Frusciante, "Wednesday" is the title of a song on musician Tori Amos' "Scarlet's Walk" album, and "Wednesday Mayday" is a piece of music from band Awaken on their album Tales Of Acid Ice Cream in 1996.

According to the Thai solar calendar, the color associated with Wednesday is green.

Sheffield Wednesday Football Club are a professional football club based in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.

Astrology

The astrological sign of the planet Mercury represents Wednesday -- Dies Mercurii to the Romans, with similar names in Latin-derived languages, such as the French Mercredi and the Spanish Miércoles. In English, this became "Woden's Day", since the Roman god Mercury was identified with Woden in northern Europe.

Named days

References

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