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The month of January

January is the first month of the year in the Gregorian calendar and named after the two-faced Roman god Janus.

Closeup of closed snowdrops (galanthus) flowerheads in spring
January's birth flower is Snowdrops.
January's birth flower are Snowdrops.
©bigstockphoto.com/PaulMaguire

January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendar. It consists of 31 days and the first day of the month is known as New Year’s Day. It is named after the Roman god, Janus.

Naming January - Janus’ Month

January is named after the Roman god, Janus, the god of doors because this month is the door to the year. The Roman god Janus represents all beginnings and possesses the ability to see all things past and future.

  • Middle English - Januarie
  • Latin name - Ianuarius
  • French - Janvier
  • Saxon - Wulf-monath - wolf month

History of January

The month of January was added to the Roman calendar by Numa Pompilius around 700 BCE so that the calendar would equal a standard lunar year of 355 days. January became the first month of the year around 450 BCE, although March was originally the first month of the year in the old Roman calendar.

January originally consisted of 30 days when it was added to the 10-month Roman calendar. However, a day was added making it 31 days long in 46 BCE by Julius Caesar.

First Month in the Year

January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendar that consists of 31 days. It did not exist in the 10-month Roman calendar. It is considered the coldest month of the year in most of the Northern Hemisphere and the warmest month of the year in most of the Southern Hemisphere.

January starts on the same day of the week as October and ends on the same day of the week as February and October in common years. During leap years, January starts on the same day of the week as April and July, and ends on the same day of the week as July.

Birth Flower and Stone

January's birth flower is the Dianthus caryophyllus or Galanthus.

The birthstone for January is the garnet which symbolizes constancy.

Topics: Calendar, Months, January

In this Article

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Months of the Year

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

Months of the Year


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