Maldives Minicoy Mahl Dhivehi
Maldive Days of the Week

The current generation of Maldivians lives at a time of rapid change. The old ways of doing things are giving way to new ways. The haphazard Islamic lunar calendar along with the Hegira year was disestablished from official use and the Gregorian calendar with the Christian year adopted in its place in 1961. The medium of instruction in state schools changed from Maldivian to English in the same year. The dress code changed in 1969. What was considered holy before (e.g.: seeking intercession of the dead) has become profane under current fundamentalist Islamic influence sponsored by radical Arab organisations. Where once the very sight of the Islamic veil would draw amazed stares, women who grew up wearing micro-mini skirts are now coerced into donning the burugaa. Mosques with quaint Divehi names such as Karukehey Miskiiy (Throat-clearing Mosque) and Faifuhey Miskiiy (Feet-wiping Mosque) have transformed into "Masjids" with unpronounceable Arabic names.

In spite of all these changes that older people are finding hard to cope with, there is one system that has remained unchanged. That is the seven day week. What is more, the Divehi meanings of the days of the week are remarkably the same as those of the Western days of the week.

More surprising is the fact that Monday in Malé had probably always been Monday everywhere else in the world. Who co-ordinated the week?.

The Babylonians reckoned time using the lunar month. They regarded the first, the fourteenth, the twenty first and the twenty eighth day of the month as holy. These days coincided respectively with the first visible crescent, the waxing half moon, the full moon, the waning half moon and the last visible crescent. There were seven days between these holy days. This seven day period later became disassociated from the lunar month to become the week. Soon the days of the week became associated with the Sun, the Moon and the five known planets.

Civilisations that were influenced by the Babylonians adopted this system and associated the week with local deities that corresponded with the same celestial bodies.

The Maldive names of the planets sound very similar to their Sanskrit equivalents and were probably derived from that language. Hindu deities associated with the planets have similar names. Although the images of these Hindu deities are shown below, there is no evidence to suggest that the same images, if any, represented those of the equivalent Maldive deities.

It is indeed surprising that the names of the days of the week and what they stood for survived the onslaught of Islam which accelerated more than ever before over the last quarter of of the Twentieth Century

Surya the Hindu god of the Sun


Sunday is the first day of the week and is named after the mightiest of the ancient deities Aadeetta, the god of the Sun. This was the most auspicious day of the week before the introduction of Islam.

The Greeks, the Romans and the Germanic tribes too named Sunday after the Sun.

Chandra the Hindu goddess of the Moon


Monday is named after Homa, the goddess of the Moon. This was regarded as the second most auspicious day of the week even after the introduction of Islam. Prayers were offered for the dead and flags flown over shrines and incense burnt on Mondays until the advent of fundamentalist Islam in recent times, bankrolled by radical Arab organisations.

The Greeks, the Romans and the Germanic tribes named Monday after the Moon.

Angaraka the Hindu god of Mars


Tuesday is named after Angaara the ancient god of Mars. Tuesday is regarded as a fateful and inauspicious day. Angaara was a temperamental deity.

The Greeks named Tuesday after Ares their god of Mars; the Romans after their god Mars and the Germanic tribes after Tiu, the god of war and the sky.

Budha the Hindu god of Mercury

Wednesday is named after Budha, the ancient god of Mercury. Budha bestows wealth and power particularly when it falls on the 25th day of the lunar month. Many an ancient potentate and king of the Maldives was supposed to have been born on Wednesday. It was believed that the Pharaoh of Egypt who pursued Moses across the Red Sea was born on the last Wednesday the 25th of a month as was the King Mohamed Farid (reigned 1954 - 1968)

The Greeks named Wednesday after Hermes their god of Mercury; the Romans after their god Mercury and the Germanic tribes after Woden or Odin, the god of the wild hunt.

Brihaspati the Hindu god of Jupiter

Thursday is named after Buraasfathi, the ancient god of Jupiter. Thursday is good to seek a cure for many an ailment and to appeal to judges seeking favourable judgements.

The Greeks named Thursday after Zeus their god of Jupiter; the Romans after their god Jupiter or Jove and the Germanic tribes after Thor, the god of Thunder.

Sukra the Hindu goddess of Venus

Friday is named after Hukuru, the ancient god of Venus. Friday is the most auspicious day of the week perhaps because it happens to be the Islamic Sabbath. Weddings still take place on the eve of Friday. This is interesting as Friday had always been associated, across many civilisations, with love and fornication.

The Greeks named Friday after Aphrodite their goddess of Venus; the Romans after their goddess Venus and the Germanic tribes after Freya, the goddess of love, beauty and prolific procreation.

Sanischara the Hindu god of Saturn

Saturday is named after Honihiru, the ancient god of Saturn. Saturday is not regarded as a very auspicious day.

The Greeks named Saturday after Cronus their god of Saturn and the Romans after their god Saturn. The Germanic tribes did not find a sensible god to name Saturday after, so they adopted the Roman god Saturn and named Saturday after him.

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