Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Have you celebrated Oden's day lately?

This is a blog post bound to get me into trouble, but I will write it anyway. ;-) From time to time, I see bumper stickers saying, "Keep Christ in Christmas." I don't mean to offend my devotely Christian friends - some will probably take it personally and be upset anyway - but to me that saying is kinda funny.

Pope Julius I
As far as I know, English is the only language where the name of the holiday and the religion coincide, and funny enough, England is also the country that re-wrote the bible to fit their own king... (While we're talking historical trivia, Pope Julius I decided the birth of Christ was to be celebrated December 25th; he found himself unable to get rid of the pagan winter solstice rituals, and decided to just change the festival into something that would work for everyone.)

Alright, now I've probably made at least half of the US froth with fury, and that was not my intention. Back on track... My point is that whatever you celebrate should come from the heart, and not from a word, or because someone else tells you it's right.

When it comes to my own country and language, we call the midwinter holiday "Jul". Sweden is very secular, and you can believe whatever you want as long as you keep it to yourself and don't involve other people. As a Swede, I don't care if you believe in Jesus, Jahve, Allah, Shiva, Confucius, Ra, or something else, as long as you keep me out of it. (It doesn't work like that in America, and this is the aspect of life in the US I personally have the most trouble with.)

I want one of these bumper stickers!

Oden with Hugin and Munin
Back home, the old Norse deities are always peeking over our shoulders. We might not always be aware of it (I didn't think about it until I moved to the US and got a new perspective), but they are ever present in our society and language. Check out the Swedish weekdays ("dag" means day):

Måndag          The moon's day
Tisdag Tyr's day. Tyr was the Norse God of War, amongst other things.
Onsdag Oden's day
Torsdag Tor's day
Fredag Frej's day (God of harvest) or, some say it's Freja's day (Goddess of love)
Lördag Short for "Lögardagen" - it means the day when you wash yourself, lol
Söndag The sun's day

Is there a similarity in English? What do the English weekdays mean?


  1. Is the US very Christian? I think that Canada is less religiously minded than the States is... But it's still there. Most people believe in a god of some sort, even if they aren't the church attending sort. In fact, atheists have been feeling left out and there are even multi-faith communities that have atheist members as a legitimate part of the belief spectrum, and having a valid viewpoint for the other members to learn from. It's a very interesting cultural thing on this continent that we don't really think about because we're surrounded by it!

  2. Yes, very Christian. It freaked me out at first, because I thought everyone must be members of some weird sect, hahaha! Like you say, people here don't really see it, because it's the normal state to them.


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