Wednesday is the day of the week between Tuesday and Thursday.
It is in the middle of the common 5-day workweek that starts on Monday and ends on Friday.
In many languages, the names given to the seven days of the week are derived from the names of the classical planets in Hellenistic astronomy, which were in turn named after contemporary deities, a system introduced by the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity.
The eanglish names of the day of the week were coined in the Roman era, in Greek and Latin.
Wednesday is named for the god Woden, who is paralleled with the Roman god Mercury, probably because both gods shared attributes of eloquence, the ability to travel, and the guardianship of the dead.
The name “Wednesday” continues Middle English Wednesdei. Old English still had wōdnesdæg, which would be continued as *Wodnesday (but Old Frisian has an attested wednesdei). By the early 13th century, the i-mutated form was introduced unetymologically.
The Latin name “dies Mercurii“ dates to the late 2nd or early 3rd century. It is a calque of Greek ἡμέρα Ἕρμου (heméra Hérmou), a term first attested, together with the system of naming the seven weekdays after the seven classical planets, in the Anthologiarum by Vettius Valens (c. 170 AD).
The Latin name is reflected directly in the weekday name in most modern Romance languages: Mércuris (Sardinian), mercredi (French), mercoledì (Italian), miércoles (Spanish), miercuri (Romanian), dimecres (Catalan), Marcuri or Mercuri (Corsican), Mèrcore (Venetian). In Welsh it is Dydd Mercher, meaning Mercury’s Day.
The Dutch name for the day, woensdag, has the same etymology as English Wednesday – it comes from Middle Dutch wodenesdag, woedensdag – “Wodan’s day”.
The German name for the day, Mittwoch – “mid-week”, replaced the former name Wodenstag – “Wodan’s day” in the 10th century.
The Finnish name is Keskiviikko – “middle of the week”, as is the Icelandic name: Miðvikudagur, and the Faroese name: Mikudagur – “Mid-week day”.
Most Slavic languages also follow pattern and use derivations of “the middle” – Serbian sreda, Croatian srijeda, Macedonian sreda, Slovene sreda, Slovak streda, Czech středa, Polish środa, Russian sredá, Belarusian serada, Ukrainian sereda, Bulgarian sryada.
Portuguese uses the word quarta-feira, meaning “fourth day”, while in Greek the word is Τετάρτη – Tetarti meaning simply “fourth”. Similarly, Arabic أربعاء means “fourth”, Hebrew רביעי means “fourth”, and Persian چهارشنبه means “fourth day”.
Yet the name for the day in Estonian kolmapäev, Lithuanian trečiadienis, and Latvian trešdiena means “third day” while in Mandarin Chinese 星期三 (xīngqīsān), means “day three”, as Sunday is unnumbered.
In Armenian Չորեքշաբթի — chorekshabti, Georgian ოთხშაბათი—otkhshabati, Turkish Çarşamba, and Tajik Chorshanbiyev languages the word literally means as “four (days) from Saturday” originating from Persian چهارشنبه – Cheharshanbeh .
In Japanese, the word for Wednesday is 水曜日 – sui youbi meaning “water day” and is associated with 水星 suisei: Mercury (the planet), literally meaning “water star”. Similarly, in Korean the word Wednesday is
수요일 – su yo il also meaning “water day”.
In most of the languages of India, the word for Wednesday is Budhavāra — vāra meaning day and Budha being the planet Mercury.
In Hindu mythology, Budha is the god of Mercury (planet), mid-week Wednesday, and of Merchants and merchandise. According to the Thai solar calendar, the color given with Wednesday is green.
In Christianity, Holy Wednesday commemorates the Bargain of Judas by a clandestine spy among the disciples. It is also called Spy Wednesday, or Good Wednesday (in Western Christianity), and Great and Holy Wednesday (in Eastern Christianity).
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian tradition. It is a solemn reminder of human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God and marks the beginning of the penitential Lenten season. It is commonly observed with ashes and fasting.
The Eastern Orthodox Church observes Wednesday (as well as Friday) as a fast day throughout the year (with the exception of several fast-free periods during the year). Fasting on Wednesday and Fridays entails abstinence from meat or meat products (i.e., four-footed animals), poultry and dairy products. Unless a feast day occurs on a Wednesday, the Orthodox also abstain from fish, from using oil in their cooking and from alcoholic beverages (there is some debate over whether abstention from oil involves all cooking oil or only olive oil). For the Orthodox, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year commemorate the betrayal of Jesus (Wednesday) and the Crucifixion of Christ (Friday). There are hymns in the Octoekhos which reflect this liturgically.
Wednesday is the day of the week devoted by the Catholic tradition to St. Joseph.
Wednesday is sometimes informally referred to as “hump day” in North America, a reference to the fact that Wednesday is the middle day—or “hump”—of a typical work week. It first came to be known as hump day since at least the 1950s.