Fundies and pagan names

Have any fundamentalists ever gotten hot in the collar about the fact that four of the months of the year (six, if you count the deified emperors), assorted elements, the planets and consequently the days of the week, and various other astronomical objects, are all named after ancient Pagan gods and goddesses?

It does sound silly, but remember, we’re talking about the same segment of the population who once tried to change the word “hello” to “heaveno”.

For the record:

January = Janus, March = Mars, May = Maia, June = Juno. The Roman emperors Julius and Augustus were deified after their deaths.

Cerium, uranium, neptunium, plutonium, and thorium. (Cobalt is named after a mischievous spirit, and nickel is named after the devil!)

The planets, I hope, need not be elucidated. Days of the week: (Note: languages are English, French, Spanish, Esperanto, Italian, and Latin.)

Moon/Luna: Monday, lundi, lunes, lundo, lunedi, dies lunae (May be excepted as an innocent planetary body.)

Tyr/Mars: Tuesday, mardi, martes, mardo, martedi, dies martis

Woden (Odin)/Mercury: Wednesday, mercredi, miercoles, merkredo, mercoledi, dies mercurii

Thor/Jupiter (Jove): Thursday, jeudi, jueves, jhaudo, giovedi, dies iovis

Freya/Venus: Friday, vendredi, viernes, vendredo, venerdi, dies veneris

I note also that English, unlike French and Spanish, takes its word for Sunday from the Latin Dies Solis, rather than the later Dies Dominicus (Lord’s Day), whence dimanche and domingo. Also, English and French take the word for Saturday from Saturn [Latin dies saturnis], rather than the Sabbath (like Spanish sabato).

Astronomical objects include the asteroids Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Eros, the constellations Hercules, and the Pleiades.

The main reason there has been no serious effort to change is they can’t figure out how to announce it when they succeed,
" On this august occaision…"


Feebly humorous and without any serious backing. The adjective “augustus”, which gives us our word “august” (renowned), was the title given to Octavian Caesar, who was later deified as Augustus, whence the name of the month.

In Europe, anyway, there are three languages (other than Esperanto :)) that avoid pagan day names–Russian, Greek, and Portuguese.
In all three languages, Sunday-voskresy’enje, Kiriak’i, Domingo–mean “Lord’s Day,” and Saturday–subbot’a, Savvat’i, sabado–mean “Sabbath.”
In Russian, Monday (ponied’elnik) means “resurrection.”
In all three languages (except for Russian sred’a, “Wednesday”) the days of the week come from ordinal numbers–2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th.

Along those lines, you wouldn’t want to leave out the “Gallilean satellites” of Jupiter (Zeus), who were named for 4 of Zeus’s mortal lovers: Callisto, Europa, Io and Ganymede who was a young man. :slight_smile:

Sorreeee, matt, I didn’t see your toe. In answer to your question, Yes, as far as the months and days. A few months back a group in Dallas was vocal enough long enough to make the news.They were actually using new names in conversations and letters with ‘outsiders’ I didn’t pay much attention so I don’t know what they proposed to substitute.Books of the Bible seems to be familiar.
BTW I have studied some history. I know who Octavius was and why he was given the honorific(not a ‘title’, he was already emperor after all) and I have studied some Latin so I know what augustus means.
Try as I might I could not find “renowned” as a definition of august or as a synonymn. It is from the same root that gives us ‘awe’

Grand; magnificent; majestic; impressing awe; inspiring reverence.
The adj august has 2 senses
•1. august, grand, lordly – (of or befitting a lord; heir to a lordly fortune"; "of august lineage'' ) •2. august, revered, venerable -- (profoundly honored; revered holy men’’ )
Also your barb was redundant 'humorous(however feeble)=without serious backing,what ever serious backing is.
Now ,since you asked," Have any fundamentalists ever gotten hot in the collar…" and I answered that some have (Though I do not have a source to cite),you might as well close your thread. BTW it is 'under the collar ’ not ‘in’.


I’m not sure why we want to pick on (Christian) fundamentalists here. Many of these names have religious origins, just not Christian origins – with the noted exceptions which are, in fact, Christian. Someone, at some point, named them after their deities. That’s a pretty “fundamental” action, just not a very modern one. And the ironic result was not to make the days more holy but to make the names of their gods commonplace, with no religious significance remaining. They persist mainly through historical inertia, not through lingering respect for anyone’s religious feelings or disrespect for more current or more popular religions.

If you want to see some funny proposals for calendar names check out the proposals made by the French at the time of the Revolution. Reforming the calendar has been tried many times, but has succeeded very rarely.

“non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem”

I think the main reason the “fundies” haven’t gotten upset about the names with pagan roots, is that the ones that do get upset about these kinds of things aren’t bright enough to know where these names come from. One of those rare occaisions where ignorance really is bliss.

After all, matt, the whole “hello/heavano” thing is based on a faulty idea that “hello” comes from “hell”. It is actuallly an alteration of “hollo”, meaning “to holler”.

Carpe hoc!

civilly Thank you, Mr. John. Now then, would anyone happen to know the names that he mentioned?

Heres what Websters says about “hello”:

it comes from “holla” which is from Middle French “hola” meaning: Ho - Ahoy, La - there, so it means: Ahoy there! (dont nit pick on me thats what this book says! :)).

I think if the fundies found out all of the pagan roots of things, they would make a big stink about them. Most would probably not really try to learn about that stuff. But, let’s not tell them. The last thing we need is a committee to rename the months and days of the week!

“Raw to the floor like reservoir dogs”
- A.V. Helden

Actually, the fundamentalists probably know enough of their own history to know that it was tried before, by the puritans and the Quakers, and all it did was annoy and confuse people.

The puritans also tried “Christian” names for their children, culminating in the notorious instance of the poor individual who went through life with the name If-Jesus-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned Barebone.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

By the way, strictly speaking, uranium, neptunium and plutonium are named for the respective planets, not for the gods.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

Ah,matt, no biggie, it’s just that I had only 4 cups of coffee when I reposted,wasn’t feeling up to par.This is from the murky depths of what I like to refer to as my brain. I think the months were to be changed to books from the ‘old’ testement,days from the ‘new’. I don’t remember any thing about astronomical bodies, but then they aren’t bodies at all but lights fixed in the firmament.Dallas and Texas in general is a hotbed for some of this stuff, there is a famous couple who appear before the state textbook committee wih similar stuff annually.Since they are so vocal and have vocal support and since Texas is the largest purchaser of text books these two people influence the publishers and schools every where. My wife is a local district book evaluater, she is usually quite ladylike,but she has some choice words for those two.And she evaluates the MATH books the state has chosen.(Haven’t heard much from them lately,maybe they moved to Kansas.


I know the feeling, Mr. John, but it usually occurs in reverse, when the coffee hasn’t kicked in and I’m tired and cranky. Curse the demon bean!