The days of the week in several Indian languages are named after the same planets/gods as the Graeco-Roman days of the week.

Did these arise from some common source predating both (PIE?), or was the Graeco-Roman week imported into India at some later point in time?

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    The link you gave of Wikipedia answers your question... May 29, 2014 at 11:17
  • Can you point out the sentences in that article which you think answer this question?
    – Anubhav C
    May 30, 2014 at 12:36
  • First, the title tag - "Indian astrology". Second, that table itself. "Vaar" in Hindi means "Day". And, those heavenly bodies were the only ones visible to the naked eye, in that order. That is why, we chose only them... May 30, 2014 at 16:25
  • Nice answer, now prove you didn't make it up. Where's the evidence that (a) ancient Indians considered that to be the order of the Navagraha and (b) the order of weekdays was derived from the order of the Navagraha, and not the other way round? A Navagraha-based answer would raise questions about (a) why the Indian week has seven days instead of nine (b) why the Greeks used to same sequence of weekdays, even though they assigned the heavenly bodies a different order (ctrl-F Chaldean)
    – Anubhav C
    May 31, 2014 at 14:44
  • By hindsight, one can presume why such and such a convention was used. Well, it is something cool; mysterious (thats what we love); something easy to notice. Further, I guess, seven was considered holy and the number of visible heavenly bodies matched it. And, seven is also a reasonable number to use for week days. Why the Indian week has seven days instead of nine - I already answered the question in my previous comment. Only the seven were known. 5 planets, a Sun, and a Moon. May 31, 2014 at 14:54

5 Answers 5


None of the Hindu mythological books or puranas mention the names of the week , today what we use as VAAR ( Ravi , Som , Mangal, Budh . Brihaspati, Shukra, and Shani ) are the translated version of the western system , it was only the THITHI as per the Lunar calendar followed all over. the names of the week is recent and has no origin in Indian Mythology ( any religion that is followed in India ).

  • Thanks for answering! Do you have a source showing the origins of the modern weekday names (vaar)?
    – Anubhav C
    Apr 16, 2016 at 1:43

The ancient Hindus did not regularly use "days of the week" (although they are attested). The reason for this was that the Hindu calendar before 1100 AD used mean times (called madhyama) and this can shift days from one month to another. They did have a division into days assigned as one day to each planet as follows:

  1. Ravivara
  2. Somavara
  3. Mangalavara
  4. Budhavara
  5. Brihaspatvara
  6. Sukravara
  7. Sanivara

This is only one possible naming scheme, and many others can be found in ancient Indian writings.

More important among the ancient Hindus was the lunisolar calendar in which each day was numbered, similar to the method of the Romans. Like the Romans the month was divided into two 15-day fortnights, the first being suddha (waxing) and the second being bahula (waning).

Note that there is no regular calendar in India, but many of them in common use for various purposes. It is estimated that today there are about 30 different commonly used calendars in India.

"Calendrical Calculations" by Dershowitz and Reingold (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

To the extent that the Indians use the Norse names of the week is due to the influence of the Portuguese and English.

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    ...is due to the influence of the Portuguese and English. The Portuguese? But the Portuguese weekdays haven't had nothing whatsoever to do with planets and Gods for centuries! How did they influence? Mar 3, 2017 at 15:37
  • Martinho de Braga, Bishop of Braga, coined the currently used weekdays in Portugal in the 6th century. Mar 3, 2017 at 15:53

The seven day week is Sumerian or Babylonian in origin. The astrological component is also Babylonian. Seven was an important number to the Babylonians; the world was created in seven days, the Annunaki were seven gods.

The Persians and Jews adopted it from the Chaldeans. The Greeks adopted it in the 4th century B.C. It became common in Rome during the early imperial era, due to an influx of Hellenism and Judaism. It superseded the Roman 8 day week by the end of the Julio-Claudian period, but it wasn't made official until Constantine. (1)

The 7 day week appears in Indian history during the Gupta period (3rd-5th centuries A.D.). Its similar appearance in China during the fourth century is attributed to Manichaean monks. (1)

(1) Wikipedia- Week

  • This is completely wrong. Neither the Sumerians nor the Babylonians had a seven-day week. blogs.ucl.ac.uk/calendars-ancient-medieval-project/2015/07/08/…
    – fdb
    Apr 2, 2019 at 10:47
  • @fdb I'm going to change my answer, but not because its "completely wrong". A lot of it probably has to do with the definition of a week. I.E. the Babylonian 7th, 21st, and 28th day was a "schematic" device, not a cycle.
    – John Dee
    Apr 3, 2019 at 0:57

Seven week days are as per Ancient Hindu Calender. Even in Navgraha Stotra same order. Eighth and nineth Graha's name not included because.. Rahu and Ketu are not considered good.

Ancient Indians used to research on many subjects like yoga, Ayurved, Astronomy and u name it.

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    While this states the pre-existence of a seven-day week in India, this doesn't really address the question of how the Graeco-Roman naming was introduced. It would also benefit from some sources.
    – Steve Bird
    Aug 28, 2018 at 10:39
  • 1
    Sources would improve this answer
    – MCW
    Aug 28, 2018 at 12:33

Hinduism is not the birth place of week days or planets! Shocked ?! .. read on .. That’s because there were several INdian religions in India before everything were combined into one in the recent centuries So coming to the answer about week days you can see more than two thousand year old temples in south india that has deities for each planet Sunday first because it takes only one day for revolution around earth moon takes a month followed by other planets that could be the reason for sequence thanks

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