There's something friendly and familiar about the names of the days of the week in English and other Western European languages. Each has its quirks (the Romance languages use Roman gods, the Germanic languages use Germanic gods, Spanish and Italian use 'Sabbath' instead of 'Saturday') but with a bit of background they fall into an interesting but reassuring pattern.
Not so Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese (CJV), which seem completely alien. Chinese and Vietnamese simply count the days of the week; Japanese uses a strange collection of elemental names reminiscent of primitive religion. Given that Chinese and Vietnamese can't even agree which day to count from, the three languages seem to have little to do with each other, let alone the languages of Europe. Mongolian muddles things further with different naming systems in different places, including numbered names (with numbering the same as both Chinese AND Vietnamese) and the Tibetan names of planets.
But this appearance is deceptive. A little delving reveals a complex picture that is every bit as fascinating as the familiar languages of the West. Ironically, Japanese and Vietnamese turn out to be more faithful to traditional Western concepts of the week than modern English is.
To read on, go straight to Days of the Week in the West. To go to a specific section, click on the site map below.