The Months of the Year
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.
Position 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.
January's birth flower is the Dianthus caryophyllus or Galanthus.
The birthstone for January is the garnet which symbolizes constancy.