The Month of January
January is the first month of the year, has 31 days, and is named after the two-faced Roman god Janus.
Named After Janus
The month of January is named after the Roman god of doors, Janus, because this month is the door into the new year. Janus is also called the two-faced god. He represents all beginnings and possesses the ability to see the past and the future.
- Middle English - Januarie
- Latin - Ianuarius
- French - Janvier
- Saxon - Wulf-monath - wolf month
History of January
The months of January and February did not feature in earlier versions of the ancient Roman calendar, which divided the year into 10 months and left 61 days unaccounted for in the winter. They were added around 700 BCE.
Originally, January and February were the last months of the calendar year. The Roman calendar began in March (Martius), due to the March Equinox, which still marks the beginning of the tropical year today. However, in 450 BCE, the beginning of the year was moved to January 1.
January initially 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's astronomers, who also introduced Leap Years.
The Full Moon in January is called the Wolf Moon, after howling wolves. The name is thought to have come from the Anglo-Saxon lunar calendar. Other names are Moon After Yule, Old Moon, Ice Moon, and Snow Moon, although the last one is typically used for the February Full Moon.
January 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.
Birth Flower and Stone
January's birth flowers are carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) and snowdrops (Galanthus). The birthstone for January is the garnet, which symbolizes constancy.
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.