History of the days of week in Portuguese
Weekdays got their names in Portuguese due to the Catholic liturgy at the initiative of Martinho de Dume. He named the weekdays of the Easter holiday, during which no one should work, based on the liturgical names.
Sabbatum originated directly from the Hebrew Shabbat devotional, at a time when the Hebrews were originally one people and one culture. The day was the Sabbath, day of rest of the Israelites. For that reason, they flocked to the synagogue more often. This day is Saturday (sábado), the last day of their weekly schedule, this being the day of rest for the Jews.
The apostolic tradition fixed the day of rest for Christians on Sunday (domingo) in honor of the resurrection of Christ. In 325 AD, the guidelines adopted at the First Council of Nicaea confirmed the apostolic tradition, and during the reformation of the Roman calendar headed by Constantine the Great, it replaced the name Solis Dies, which means Day of the Sun. This had been how the pagans referred to Sunday (domingo). It was replaced by Dies Dominicus (or Dominicum Dies, Dies Dominica, Dies Domini). In Portuguese, this means the day of the Lord, which evolved into Sunday (domingo).
The day of Sunday, also known as Prima Feria, was the day that Christians met to worship the memory of Christ's Resurrection, the day of rest for Christians.
Portuguese is the only European language in which the days of the week are not associated with the stars, although they were before Martinho de Dume modified them.
Why do we have feira in the days of week?
The word feira comes from the word feria, which in Latin means “day of rest”. The term came to be used in the year 563 AD, after a council of the Catholic Church in Braga, a Portuguese city. The explanation for the presence of the term only in Portuguese is that Bishop Martinho de Braga decided that the names of the days of the week which were used at that time, in honor of the pagan gods, should change.
Now you may ask, if feira means a day of rest, why do we use feira in the days of the week and not in the weekend? The explanation is that originally, the order of the bishop was valid only for the days of Holy Week (the one that precedes Easter Sunday), when every good Christian should rest. Afterwards, it was eventually adopted for the entire year, but only by the Portuguese. The only exceptions made by our mustachioed brethren, and then incorporated into the Portuguese colonies, were Saturday (sábado) and Sunday (domingo).
Since 321 AD, Western calendars have started the week with Sunday. The rule was imposed that year by the Roman emperor Constantine who, moreover, established definitively that the week would have seven days. The order was not random. Though at the time the Romans adopted weeks of eight days, the Bible said that God created the Earth in six days and rested on the seventh and, by all indications, the Babylonians also divided the year into sets of seven days.
Somewhat unrelated, DL also accepts, "The market is on Sunday."
:) Thank you! I am saving up for more lessons so this will help. :)
But to be fair, those are not my words. I only copied them and edited them down so they would be more concise. I did know about Braga (and days of the week, and markets) as I have spent a considerable time there (including Easter Week a couple times), and it was considered the Roman Catholic capital of Western Europe at one time.
The photo is from Holy Week (Semana Santa):
There is a saying in Portugal that goes:
- Coimbra Studies
- Braga Prays
- Porto Works
- Lisboa Plays
But I am afraid I may have mixed up the order so that it rhymes better (in English). =]
Bonus quick related history of the beginning of Portugal:
The Suebian Christians in Galicia and Asturias united forces and began to take th[e] land back – a movement known as the Reconquista [re-conquer]. The valleys between the Minho and Douro rivers were known by the name of the principal port at the end of the mouth of the Douro River, Portus Cale or Portocale. Portus was the Latin word for entrance or opening, as in portal. Cale was the Celtic name for the town that evolved at that portal. Today the harbor is simply called Porto. It is Portugal’s second largest city.
In the 800s, the port was just a port. Typical of Medieval cities, the principal town, Braga, was situated more safely upriver in a peaceful valley of the nearby hills. That is where the Suebian Christians built their church. [Braga is still Portugal’s religious hub.] The country of Portugal will grow southward as the Christians re-conquer more lands.
The king of Asturias between 739 and 757 CE was named Alfonso I. Alfonso I also ruled the Christian countries of Galicia and León. The Roman Catholic church was represented in those countries by bishops. One bishop resided in Compostela in Galicia. Another resided in Braga in Portucale. Since the church in Braga was Iberia’s oldest Christian church, the Bishop of Braga claimed his church was the sé [the seat] of the Catholic Bishopric for all of Iberia.
Things changed in 830 CE when a tomb was uncovered at Compostela. [Remember how much early Christians loved old bones!] The Bishop of Compostela claimed that the tomb contained the remains of Jesus’ apostle St. James. The apostle James was, and is to this day, the patron saint of pilgrims and of Spain. [The word for Saint James is Santiago in Spanish and São Tiago in Portuguese.] According to Christian tradition, after Jesus was crucified in 34ish CE, his apostle James traveled as far west as Iberia to preach the gospel, then he returned to Judea as a pilgrim. While in Judea, he was beheaded, which made him a Christian martyr.
The claim by the Bishop of Compostela that St. James’ tomb had been found ignited a rush of pilgrims throughout Europe who wanted to visit the saint’s remains and pay tribute. As we learned when Emperor Constantine’s mother Helena uncovered the True Cross, nails, lance, and sponge involved in Jesus’ crucifixion, such relics were good for tourism. The pilgrims who visited the churches and towns that housed the relics spent lots of money while they were there.
A rivalry developed between the Christians in Galicia [future Castile and Spain] and the Christians in Braga [future Portugal] that still exists today. Historians think that the Bishop of Compostela fabricated the discovery of St. James’ remains to lure Christian pilgrims away from Braga.
Compostela, renamed Santiago de Compostela [Compostela of Saint James], became the most important pilgrimage site in all the Christian world. Legend said that God put the Milky Way in the sky for the one and only purpose of guiding the pilgrims from all points in Europe to Santiago de Compostela. Today, tourist maps refer to the still popular pilgrimage road as El Camino.(O Caminho).