The Seven Luminaries, Five Elements, and Names of the Planets in Mongolian

As is pointed out elsewhere, the Japanese days of the week are named after the Seven Luminaries (七曜 shichiyō), a term referring to the Sun, the Moon, and the five visible planets. The Japanese borrowed the term from Chinese 七曜 qīyào.

The 七曜 qīyào (Seven Luminaries) are known in Mongolian as долоон гариг doloon garig or долоон гараг doloon garag 'the seven planets'. Due to cultural influences from both Tibet and China, they are known under at least four sets of names, which can be summarised as follows. Such tables are consulted in giving personal names, although not all names in the table are used.

Planet (element / phase) Tibetan Indian 'Stars' Mongolian Chinese
Sun ᠨᠢᠮ᠎ᠠ
ням
nyam
ᠠᠳᠢᠶ᠎ᠠ
адъяа
adya
ᠨᠠᠷᠠᠨ ᠣᠳᠣ
наран од
naraŋ od
ᠨᠠᠷᠠᠨ
наран
naraŋ
日曜
Ch: rìyào
Ja: nichiyō
Ko: illyo
Moon ᠳᠠᠸᠠ
даваа
davaa
ᠰᠣᠮᠢᠶ᠎ᠠ
сумъяа
sumya
ᠰᠠᠷᠠᠨ ᠣᠳᠣ
саран од
saraŋ od
ᠰᠠᠷᠠᠨ
саран
saraŋ
月曜
Ch: yuèyào
Ja: getsuyō
Ko: wollyo
Mars (fire) ᠮᠢᠭᠮᠠᠷ
мягмар
myagmar
ᠠᠩᠭᠠᠷᠠᠭ
ангараг
aŋgarag

ᠭᠠᠯ ᠣᠳᠣ
гал од
gal od
ᠣᠯᠠᠭᠠᠨ ᠨᠢᠳᠦᠨ
улаан нүдэн
ulaaŋ nüdeŋ
火曜
Ch: huǒyào
Ja: kayō
Ko: hwayo
Mercury (water) ᡀᠠᠭᠪᠠ
лхагва
lkhagv
ᠪᠣᠳ᠋
буд
bud
ᠣᠰᠣᠨ ᠣᠳᠣ
усан од
usaŋ od
ᠦᠯᠡᠮᠵᠢ
үлэмж
ülemj
水曜
Ch: shuǐyào
Ja: suiyō
Ko: suyo
Jupiter (wood) ᠫᠦᠷᠪᠦ
пүрэв
pürev
ᠪᠠᠷᠠᠬᠠᠰᠪᠠᠳᠢ
бархасбадь
barkhasbad'
ᠮᠣᠳᠣᠨ ᠣᠳᠣ
модон од
modoŋ od
ᠭᠠᠳᠠᠰᠣᠨ
гадсан
gadsaŋ
木曜
Ch: mùyào
Ja: mokuyō
Ko: mogyo
Venus
(gold/metal)
ᠪᠠᠰᠠᠩ
баасан
baasaŋ
ᠱᠣᠭᠠᠷ᠎ᠠ
сугар
sugar
ᠠᠯᠲᠠᠨ ᠣᠳᠣ
алтан од
altaŋ od
ᠴᠣᠯᠮᠣᠨ
цолмон
tsolmoŋ
金曜
Ch: jīnyào
Ja: kin'yō
Ko: geumyo
Saturn
(earth)
ᠪᠢᠮᠪᠠ
бямба
byamb
ᠰᠠᠨᠢᠴᠠᠷ
санчир
saŋchir
ᠰᠢᠷᠣᠢ ᠣᠳᠣ
шороон од
shorooŋ od
ᠬᠣᠪᠳᠣᠭ ᠡᠮᠭᠡᠨ
ховдог эмгэн
khovdog emgeŋ
土曜
Ch: tǔyào
Ja: doyō
Ko: toyo

The first two columns list the familiar Tibetan and Indian names. The third column is an exact equivalent of the Chinese names, consisting of an element/phase plus the word од od 'star'. The names in sequence mean 'sun star; moon star; fire star; water star; wood star; gold star; earth star'.

The fifth column is a rather curious one, starting with the sun and the moon, then cycling through some well-known as well as obscure terms. The name for Mars means 'red eye', that for Mercury in the dictionary is given as 'huge', and that for Jupiter is more normally found in the term алтан гадасан altan gadasan 'golden gadasan' or Pole Star. Цолмон tsolmon is a common word used in Mongolian names. The final name, ховдог эмгэн khovdog emgeŋ literally means 'voracious old woman'.

The Chinese names of the five visible planets are based on the Five Elements or Five Phases (五行 wǔxíng). In Mongolian, the five elements or phases are as shown below: (Note that the traditional order of the five elements is not the same as that of the planets.)

Element Mongolian (incl. Buryat) Chinese character Chinese (Mandarin) and
Japanese reading
Metal ᠲᠡᠮᠦᠷ
төмөр
tömör
(Buryat: Түмэр
tümär)
Ch: jīn
Ja: kin
Ko: geum
Wood ᠮᠣᠳᠣ
мод
mod
(Buryat: модон
modon)
Ch:
Ja: moku
Ko: mog
Water ᠣᠰᠣ
ус
us
(Buryat: уһан
uhan)
Ch: shuǐ
Ja: sui
Ko: su
Fire ᠭᠠᠯ
гал
gal
(Buryat: гал
gal)
Ch: huǒ
Ja: ka
Ko: hwa
Earth ᠰᠢᠷᠣᠢ
шороо
shoroo
(Buryat: шорой
shoroj)
Ch:
Ja: do
Ko: to

For each of these, the meaning of the Mongolian term exactly parallels that of the Chinese. However, there is one element/phase that is not normally used as a planetary name: the element/phase төмөр tömör 'iron' is dropped in favour of алтан altaŋ as the name of Venus.

In scientific use, the planetary names in Mongolia now usually follow the Indian names:

  Planetary Names
Mercury Буд
bud
Venus Сугар
sugar
Mars Ангараг
aŋgarag
Jupiter Бархасбадь
barkhasbad'
Saturn Санчир
saŋchir
Uranus Тэнгэрийн ван
tengeriŋ vaŋ
Nepture Далайн ван
dalaiŋ vaŋ

The last two names mean 'king of heaven' and 'king of the sea' respectively. ван vaŋ is from the Chinese word wáng 'king'.

In Inner Mongolia, there is no single set of standard names for the planets, although names corresponding to the Chinese five elements (phases) tend to be favoured. Uranus and Neptune are known as Тэнгэрийн ван гараг tengeriŋ vaŋ garag 'heaven king star' and Далайн ван гараг dalaiŋ vaŋ garag 'sea king star' respectively.

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