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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Martin of Braga

Martin of Braga (or Martinho de Dume) was a monk who later became a Saint by the Catholic church. Born in Hungary and settled as a Bishop in Gallaecia in the city of Bracara Augusta (today, Braga in Portugal) in the 6th century.

 Martin of Braga, miniature of the Codice Albekdensis, 972, on the left it says: «Martinus Episcopus Bracarensis»

What is so interesting about this man, you think...
Besides being a prolific writer and translating several old texts into Latin, he also presided over the 2nd Council of Braga, in 572, were amongst other religious issues, the names of the days of the week were discussed.
Names of the week, you say?
Names that still were the ones used by the pagan Romans: Lunae dies, Martis dies, Mercurii dies, Jovis dies, Veneris dies, Saturni dies and Solis dies.
According to this man's oppinion, these names remembered people of old heathen gods and should be changed into more proper Christian ones. His suggestion: Feria secunda, Feria tertia, Feria quarta, Feria quinta, Feria sexta, Sabbatum and Dominica Dies.

Here's the explanation:
  • Sunday (the day of the sun), being the 1st day of the week in the Christian Calendar, the one that should be dedicated to the Christian god, would now set the remaining week. In Latin Dominica means “the day of the Lord”.
  • Monday (the day of the moon), or now Feria Secunda, the 2nd resting day (Feria in Latin means “to rest”) of the Holy Week of the Christian Calendar, the week before Easter.
  • Tuesday = 3rd resting day
  • Wednesday = 4th resting day
  • Thursday = 5th resting day
  • Friday = 6th resting day
  • Saturday (the day of Saturn), Sabbatum, from Hebrew origin. Still a word used today in Academics for the lap year teachers take to study or rest (to take a Sabbatical).

The most interesting fact is that Portugal, Galicia (in Spain) and East-Timor are the only regions in the world where the names of the days of the week origin from Martin of Dume's decision.
And that is why in Portugal, since the 6th century we say: Domingo, 2ª feira, 3ª feira, 4ª feira, 5ª feira, 6ª feira and Sábado.


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