The first couplet of Nostrdamus Quatrain I 50 in the Article AU SUJET DE L’HOMME NICE reads,

De l’aquatique triplicité naistra,
D’un qui sera le ieudy pour sa feste:

One will be born of the aquatic triplicity.
Who will make Thursday his holiday:

A birthday feast?

“Thursday’s Child has far to go” says an English nursery rhyme.

A day of rest?

The Astro-symbol for Thursday suggests a numeral 4 which fits if you count your working week from Monday but many countries start the week officially on Sunday, making Thursday their fifth day. In fact, most social counting of calendrical time starts with Day One as a day of rest such as the week starting on a Sunday or the annual New Year’s Day official time for relaxation.

Thursday is Jove or Jupiter’s day in the Romance languages and the German ‘Donnerstag’ is a corruption of the Latin ‘Jovis dies’ or ‘Jupiter’s Day’. They say the same is true for the English Thursday but it always looks like ‘Thor’s Day’ to me. (OE ‘Thursdaeg’)

The Torah is read publicly on Thursday mornings. Both Judaism and Islam rate Thursday highly for fasting. Early Christians were urged to avoid fasting on Thursdays as a kind of brand distinction.

The Milky Way seems a static flow of stars that suggested to the Egyptians spilt milk from a celestial udder. It might suggest to some the Veil of Isis, wife of the universal god Osiris/Eloheim. His son Horus seems so close to the New Testament’s Jesus as to question who came first or to reset them as being distant contemporaries in ancient times, one being perhaps a misplaced literary duplicate of the other. (My own conviction is that ‘Jesus’ was real and a gentle godly hero of heroes although not necessarily the Christ-Messiah of Judaen tradition.)

With India’s Hindus a Thursday is dedicated to Guru or Jupiter and a ‘Guruvaar’ fasting day is very common. Another meaning for guru is teacher. Some Buddhist countries reserve one Thursday of each year as ‘Teacher’s Day’ whilst the Thais traditionally graduate successful university students on a Thursday. As a ‘new cultural tradition’ British General Elections are always held on a Thursday. The Catholic Church has some Saint’s feast days that fall annually on a Thursday.

Thursday is distinct from Islam’s Friday and the Judaen Saturday or Sabbath as well as the Sun-loving Church’s postponement of it until Sunday.

The Bahá’í week ends on Istiqlál (literally, Independence). It begins at sunset on Thursday and ends at sunset on Friday, just as the Jewish Sabbath begins.

Maundy Thursday, the Thursday of Mysteries on the fifth day of Holy Week, is a strong Christian tradition involving, inter alia, relief money to the poor.

The Eastern Church has Thursdays dedicated to the Apostles and to St. Nicholas the Archbishop Wonder Worker. Their Octoechos forms an eight-week cycle of hymns that are chanted on Thursdays throughout the year.

For a devout Hindu each Thursday may be considered sacred.

Can the week be rearranged? A change of calendar will do it numerically, of course, but the Saudis have even mooted moving the extra day in their weekend around for reasons of international trade.

Contrary to popular belief, a sabbath is a cycle of seven time units or the fasting period(s) within such a cycle or otherwise a special day of worship or else simply Saturday.*

Otherwise, Friday is the Moslem day of prayer (yet this is not a pan-Moslem observance) that may begin at sunset on Thursday in some Arab countries, such as the UAE. There are also some annual national rest days but these are rarely fixed to a day of the week, whilst the perverse Soviets exploited the subbotnik, a rest day of doing voluntary labour.

*Constantine– a pagan Sun worshipper until his dying moments – preferred to hold the Sabbath on Sunday, dies solis. Curiously, Saturn and not the Sun was originally claimed as the Helios (quoting or misquoting an ancient copy of Plato’s Timaeus) so making the 2-day ‘English weekend’ – now widespread because of expansive consumer economics – a celebration of both Saturn and the Sun. The Easter holiday’s Good Friday and Monday Bank Holiday frame these nicely.

The Council of Narbonne in AD 590 created a penance for the old Rome Republic pagan practice, still prevalent at the time, of not working on Thursdays in honour of Jupiter and encouraged a change to taking Sundays off in honour of the Church’s Christ.

Some say that the Carnival of Venice started because of ‘Giovedi Grasso’ or ‘Fat Thursday’ which was an annual holiday that lasted up until the Venetian Republic finally failed. This feast, commemorated at Piazzetta San Marco, was created inadvertently from a Bull by Pope Adrian IV that dates back to February 22nd 1155. The Papa had made a geopolitical change that threw two parties at odds with each other. In 1162 the Patriarch of Grado invaded the territory of the Patriarch of Aquileia. The Doge of Venice reacted swiftly, capturing all. The Pope made intercession for release of prisoners which was agreed on condition that every Shrove Thursday, the day that Grado was taken, Aquileia must send a bull with a dozen pigs to Venice. These represented one miscreant and twelve of his supporters and they were to be put on trial as an amusement and then ‘executed’ in St.Mark’s Square for feasting. Various aerial balancing acts became traditional on ‘Giovedi Grasso’ including the ‘Flight of the Turks’. The Doge was usually present and basic fireworks marked the day’s close. (Other hard-eating holidays prior to Lent and also named similarly to Fat Thursday take place in Poland, Germany and Canada or else are similar but with unique local names such as in Greece or they are the scheduled feasts for Maundy Thursday/Shrove Thursday as found in Spain.)

Nigel Raymond Offord © 2012 onwards

O.F. FOOTNOTE: OF ‘jeusdi’ was in literary use by the Twelfth Century. (‘Comput’ by Philippe de Thaon) The Latin ‘dies Jovis’ is the Day of Jupiter, the most pro-humanity of all the classical demi-gods. It was recorded in France around the Millennium, and very likely before, and later as variations on ‘jeuves’. Latin ‘dies Jovis’ provided the type for Catalan ‘dijous’, Occitan ‘Dijou’, Flanders-Picardy-Wallonia ‘Dioes’, Italy ‘giovedi’, Provençal, ‘jou, jous, jos’ and also rooted in ex-imperial places like Romania.
In France, ‘Jovis die’ survives as ‘jeudi’. (Merci, CNRTL)

“From the Water Signs one born on a Thursday/Whose feast will be on Jupiter’s Day”