January the New Year

2641996Happy New Year Everyone

January (Latin, Ianuarius) is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door (ianua) since January is the door to the year.

The original Roman calendar consisted of 10 months totaling 304 days, winter being considered a month-less period. Around 713 BC, the successor of Romulus, King Numa Pompilius, is said to have added the months of January and February, allowing the calendar to equal a standard lunar year (354 days). Although March was originally the first month in the old Roman Calendar, January became the first month of the calendar year under either Numa or the Decemvirs about 450 BC (some sources differ).

During the Middle Ages with major influence from the Catholic Church, many countries in western Europe moved the start of the year to one of several important Christian festivals, for example, December 25 (the Nativity of Jesus), March 1, March 25 (the Annunciation), or even Easter. Eastern European countries began their numbered year on September 1 from about 988. In England, January 1 was celebrated as the New Year festival, but from the 12th century to 1752 the new year in England began on March 25 (Lady Day). Most western European countries changed the start of the year to January 1 before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. Scotland would change the start of the Scottish New Year to January 1 in 1600. England, Ireland and the British colonies changed the start of the year to January 1 in 1752. The Gregorian calendar was introduced throughout Britain and the British colonies in September of the very same year. These two reforms were implemented by the Calendar Act 1750.

January’s birthstone is the garnet which represents constancy.

Its birth flower is the cottage pink Dianthus caryophyllus or galanthus.

The zodiac signs for the month of January are Capricorn (December 22 – January 19) and Aquarius (January 20 – February 19).