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A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why does a week have 7 days?

30 May 2023


The answer to my question above is quite interesting. The ancient Sumerians used a Base-60 numeral system (eg, 60 seconds). Wiki: “The number 60, a superior highly composite number, has twelve factors, namely 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30, and 60, of which 2, 3, and 5 are prime numbers.”

Our Base-10 or decimal system “was invented between the 1st and 4th centuries by Indian mathematicians“. Wiki: “Persian and Arabic mathematicians called them “Hindu numerals”. Later they came to be called “Arabic numerals” in Europe because they were introduced to the West by Arab merchants.”

A 7 day week doesn’t really fit in a Base-60 or a Base-10 numeral system. What explains its origin??

Some argue that the 7 day week is derived from the Old Testament, which is based on the Hebrew Bible:

“The Jews also adopted a seven-day cycle, based on the time it took the Lord to create the universe as reported in Genesis. A new wrinkle in their week was the Sabbath, a day set aside for rest. This was the first time a culture had invented a holiday that occurred on a regular basis, unrelated to natural phenomena.”

A quote from Almanac

Almanac: “Mesopotamian astrologers designated one day for each of the seven most prominent objects in the sky—the Sun, the Moon, and the five major planets visible to the naked eye.” Hence:

  • Sunday = Sun;
  • Monday = Moon;
  • Tuesday = Mars (Wiki);
  • Wednesday = Mercury (Wiki);
  • Thursday = Jupiter (Wiki);
  • Friday = Venus (Wiki);
  • Saturday = Saturn (Wiki).

Actually, the ancient Sumerians recognised 10 objects in our Solar system, including planets Earth and (invisible) Neptune. However, 7 plus 2 still amounts to only 9.

Today, scientists are still looking for Planet X. Wiki: “Following the discovery of the planet Neptune in 1846, there was considerable speculation that another planet might exist beyond its orbit. The search began in the mid-19th century and continued at the start of the 20th with Percival Lowell‘s quest for Planet X.”

“Caltech researchers have found mathematical evidence suggesting there may be a “Planet X” deep in the solar system. This hypothetical Neptune-sized planet orbits our Sun in a highly elongated orbit far beyond Pluto. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed “Planet Nine,” could have a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbit about 20 times farther from the Sun on average than Neptune. It may take between 10,000 and 20,000 Earth years to make one full orbit around the Sun.

The announcement does not mean there is a new planet in our solar system. The existence of this distant world is only theoretical at this point and no direct observation of the object nicknamed “Planet 9″ have been made. The mathematical prediction of a planet could explain the unique orbits of some smaller objects in the Kuiper Belt, a distant region of icy debris that extends far beyond the orbit of Neptune. Astronomers are now searching for the predicted planet.”

A quote by NASA (2019)

Eight Days a Week (1964) by The Beatles
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-album, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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