Thor is the Norse God of thunder and lightning. The thunder shakes the sky when
Thor rides his chariot across it while chasing giants and lightning lightens
the sky when he throws his hammer, Mjollnir, to kill the giants. As a protector
of people, Thor, a tall, muscular, redheaded and bearded man, was widely worshipped
by the Norsemen(www.fortune.com... par I). Some symbolic traditions were instituted
into their culture in order to include Thor in their daily lives. These new
traditions were: naming the fifth day after him, celebrating weddings on that
day, and wearing amulets in the shape of Thor's hammer for protection.
In the days before the invasion of England by the Germanic tribes, the Romans
inhabited most of the civilized world including most of England (Davidson 12).
The fifth day of the week was known as "dies Jovis" (Robertson par
1). The Romans had named it for their god of thunder, Jove or Jupiter, the chief
of gods. To Greeks he was known as Zeus.
In the 500's, when the Germanic tribes supplanted the residents of England,
they also replaced Romans' god Jove with their own chief and thunder god, Thor.
Thus the fifth day of the week was named Thorsdaeg or Thunresdaeg, which came
down to modem English speakers as Thursday or Thunderer's day (www.englishheathenism.com...par
Thor's day was a sacred day for his worshippers. They celebrated their weddings
on that day. In many places, especially in North Germany, no work was done on
Thor's favorable day.
As the people's protector, Thor has always been the most beloved of the gods.
He was and is still honored among the pagans. Thor's hammer is a symbol of fertility
and protection. Thor keeps the people safe from enemies and giants by destroying
them with his hammer. He also brings fertility to crops when his thunderstorms
and rain fertilize and nourish the crops (Davidson 72). A hammer, resembling
Mjollnir, was used in people's daily lives. It was used to sanctify a marriage,
to bless the bride, a newborn child, to bless a dead person and to bless the
pyre at a funeral in order to ensure the person's resurrection (Crossley-Holland
198). In some marriages in Scandinavia today, the wedding cakes are in the shape
of Mjollnir. Small amulets of Thor's hammer were worn in Viking times for protection
to show that they had a personal friend among the gods and they are worn to
this day(www.fortunecity.com ...par 6).
From the day that the Germanic tribes wrested control
of England from Romans the fifth day of the week had become known as Thorsdaeg
in Old Norse or Thursday in Modern English. Thursday was a special day for the
Germanic people who worshipped Thor. They instituted many traditions that involved
Thor whose hammer was a sign ofprotection and fertility.
Crossley-Holland, Kevin. The Norse Myths. New York: Pantheon, 1980.
Davidson, H. R. Ellis. Scandinavian Mythology. New York: Hamlyn, 1969.
Robertson, John. "Thursday, an Anglo-Saxon Name for Thursday." Senior
ScribePublication. 2 February, 2002 http: //www.logophiles.com/a-s-thorsdaeg.html.
Thompson, H. J. Carol "Thor's Day." 2 February, 2002. http:/ /www
"About Thor." 27 January, 2002 http://www.fortunecity.com/roswel1/rune399/thor.html.
" Anglo-Saxon Heathenism" 6 February, 2002 http:/ /www.enlishheathenism.homestead.com/anglosaxonweek.html.