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Days of the Week in Hindi Posted by on May 16, 2019 in Hindi Language

One of the first concepts you are taught in any language class are the “days of the week.” While this may entail a simple explanation in other languages, the days of the week in Hindi are rife with meaning due to their connections with Hinduism and astrology. Although many young people in India today may prefer to say “Monday को” rather than “सोमवार को,” it’s still important to know the days of the week as they are often used in Hindi media and by older generations.

Many people use public transportation, such as India’s many well-developed metro lines in urban areas, to get to work, school and other obligations. Image by Deeptrivia on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Monday

“सोमवार/somvaar”  

First off, you’ll notice that every day of the week ends with the word “वार,” which just means “particular time or turn” – pretty self-explanatory. This part of the word can be dropped colloquially; thus, Monday would be simply सोम.

The word सोम itself has many meanings. First of all, it refers to a type of plant that can be fermented to create a hallucinogenic substance, which used to be drunk at Vedic sacrifices and offered to the gods. As a substance that could induce a state of “altered consciousness,” it was regarded as sacred, thus its connection to ritual sacrifices and its use as a type of प्रसाद (ritual offering) to deities. It was thought that this was a beverage of the deities themselves and thus drinking it could bring one closer to the abode of the gods. This word also has connections with the Vedic deity of the same name (basically, the hallucinogenic plant of सोम personified as a god) and the moon. In fact, the Vedic deity, Soma, was regarded as the god of plants, healer of disease and provider of riches and was envisaged as abiding on the moon.

सोमवार को हमें दफ़्तर जाना पड़ता है । (Somvaar ko hume daftar jaanaa partaa hai). On Monday, we have to go to the office.


Tuesday

“मंगलवार/mangalvaar” 

मंगल/mangal is a concept that you should become familiar with, as it connotes “auspiciousness,” a very important concept in Hindu astrology as it dictates when certain events may take place (lifecycle ceremonies, weddings, starting a new business, etc.). It also connotes someone or something which is fortunate and prosperous. This word is also the name of the planet Mars, another important concept in Hindu astrology as it is considered an auspicious planet.

मंगलवार को ही तुम्हारी मीटिंग होगी । (Mangalvaar ko hi tumhaari meeting hogi). Your meeting will be on Tuesday (itself).


Wednesday

“बुधवार/budhvaar”  

“बुध/budh,” which is related to the word “बुद्धि” (buddhi, fem.), meaning intelligence or wisdom, predictably means someone who is “wise or enlightened” (and is also related to the word बुद्ध, as in the Buddha). This word also refers to the planet Mercury.

हर बुधवार वे साथ साथ लंच खाते हैं लेकिन, पिछले हफ़्ते, किरण किसी वजह से आ नहीं पाया । (Har budhvaar ve saath saath lunch khaate hain lekin, pichle hafte, Kiran kisee vajah se aa nahin payaa). Every Wednesday, they have lunch together but, last week, Kiran wasn’t able to come for some reason.


A Brahaspati Temple in Banaras; image by Raghav Sudan on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Thursday

“गुरुवार/guruvaar” or, less commonly, “बृहस्पतिवार/brihaspativaar”   

“गुरु/guru” refers to a respected spiritual guide, mentor or teacher. But, it is also the name of the Vedic sage Brahaspati (who provides mentorship to the gods), which is also the name for the planet Jupiter, hence the choice between the two names here. “गुरुवार,” being shorter and easier to say, is much more commonly used, but बृहस्पतिवार is often used by traditional Hindus and in formal settings such as on a wedding invitation or an announcement of a religious ritual, etc.

पता नहीं क्यों लेकिन मुझे लगता है कि गुरुवार हमेशा जल्दी (से) गुज़र जाता है । (Pataa nahin kyoon lekin mujhe lagtaa hai ki guruvaar hameshaa jaldi (se) guzar jaataa hai). I don’t know why but it seems to me that Thursday always passes very quickly.


Friday

“शुक्रवार/shukravaar” 

The word “शुक्र” is an adjective meaning “resplendent,” but it is also the name of the planet Venus and, in Hindu mythology, it is the name of a sage, who was a regent of the planet Venus and a teacher of the daityas, a clan of divine beings. Do not confuse this word with the Arabic-descended शुक्र, which means gratitude.

शुक्रवार अमेरिकन लोगों का पसंदीदा दिन है लेकिन, इंडिया में, इसका कोई ख़ास मतलब नहीं है – आम तौर पर, शनिवार को भी लोगों को स्कूल या दफ़्तर जाना पड़ता है । (Shukravaar American logon kaa pasandeedaa din hai lekin, India me, iskaa koi khaas matlab nahin hai – aam taur par, shanivaar ko bhi logo ko school yaa daftar jaanaa partaa hai). Friday is American people’s favorite day, but in India, this day has no special meaning – usually, even on Saturdays, people have to go to school or work).


A depiction of the god Shani; image by Dr. Saptarshi (uploader), public domain.

Saturday

“शनिवार/shanivaar” 

शनि/shani refers to the planet Saturn, which is considered the least auspicious of the planets and thus many people are discouraged from taking part in momentous activities on a Saturday, lest they incur bad luck or great misfortune.

शनि को अपने गाँव मत जाओ कहीं रास्ते में बुरी किस्मत न हो जाए । (Shani ko apne gaav mat jaao kahin raaste me buri kismat na ho jaaye). Don’t go to your village on Saturday, lest bad luck befall you on the way.


Sunday

“रविवार/ravivaar” 

“रवि/ravi” is another name for the Sun. Notice how all of the other days of the week refer to significant planets in Hindu astrology, while the last day of the week, Sunday, refers to the largest and most important planet – the sun – and the first day of the week refers to the moon.

बहुत सारे भारतीय लोगों के लिए, रविवार हफ़्ते का एक ही दिन है जब वे आराम कर सकते हैं । (Bahut saare bharatiy logo ke liye, ravivaar hafte kaa ek hi din hai jab ve aaraam kar sakte hain). For a lot of Indians, Sunday is the only day of the week when they can relax.

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About the Author: Rachael

नमस्ते, मेरा नाम रेचल है/السلام علیکم، میرا نام ریچل ہے۔ Hello, my name is Rachael, but I also on occasion go by Richa––an interesting story for another time :) My two great loves are Hindi and Urdu. I first traveled to India (Jaipur, Rajasthan) in college on a Hindi study abroad program. A little over a year later, I returned to the same city to study Hindi in a yearlong program. I've also spent a summer in Kolkata, West Bengal learning Bengali, and I studied Urdu at the University of California, Berkeley, where I was a graduate student in South Asian Studies. I hope to share with you the fascinating world of Hindi and Urdu literature, society, culture and film through my blogs!


Comments:

  1. सत्यकाम:

    ज्ञान वर्धक प्रस्तुति

  2. mrinalini watson:

    loved the analysis based on the semantics of the names. thanks

    • Rachael:

      @mrinalini watson शुक्रिया! ख़ुशी हुई कि आपको पसंद आया 🙂