JANUARY HISTORY & HOLIDAYS
Ringing in a new year means new beginnings and endings. Celebrating the New Year is the first holiday on the calendar, but the world didn’t always see January that way.
Around 700 B.C., January replaced March as the first month of the year. Roman king Numa Pompilius revised the calendar and added two months to it. However, many religions continued to celebrate the new year either on March 25th or December 25th according to their church calendars. Even the Julian calendar did not indicate a clear beginning and end to the year. Then in 1582, Pope Gregory developed the Gregorian calendar and most of the world came around to January 1 being the beginning of the New Year.
Janus is the Roman god of beginnings and endings. He’s a protector of gates, doorways, and transitions. January takes its name from this tow-headed god, and it makes us wonder why it took so long to celebrate the new year in January, but it did.
Speaking of new beginnings, the entire month is full of holidays that help us to start fresh. National Personal Trainer Awareness Day reminds us to be kind to our trainers in the first days of the year – they’re kind of busy with all of us who made resolutions. We’re encouraged to clean off our desks, make travel plans a priority, and use up old gift cards.
Weather & Seasons
January is the second month of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere, but in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s summer. The Wolf Moon rises in January so it’s a great opportunity to howl at the full moon. While it’s uncertain where the name for this moon is derived, it’s interesting to note that the month used to be called Wolfmonath. As food became scarce, wolves would begin scavenging and could be heard howling at the moon.
While the month is full of resolutions, it also includes many other traditions, too. Like other months, it has its own stones and flowers. Fortunately for anyone born in January, their birthstone is the Garnet which comes in a wide variety of stunning colors.
Capricorns and Aquarius are born in January. You share your birthday month with Elvis Presley, Virginia Woolf, JRR Tolkien, Bessie Coleman, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King Jr., Jeannette Piccard, J.D. Salinger, Zora Hurston, A.A. Milne, Carrie Chapman Catt, Edgar Allan Poe, Alma Ziegler, and Dian Fossey. The carnation and snowdrop are your birth flowers. Celebrate with National Seed Swap Day and prepare to plant your own!
January is often a month of new beginnings and endings. Some of us embark on new health club memberships in an attempt to end old habits. Our new year’s resolutions help kick-off healthy habits placing us squarely on a path of health and renewal. While some of us succeed, many admit we will need to keep trying. New beginnings don’t always have to do with our physical self, though. Sometimes we challenge ourselves to new adventures or lifestyles.
What’s Your Sign?
If you’re born in January, your sign is either Capricorn or Aquarius. January’s birthstone is the garnet and comes primarily in the color red, but can also be in shades of orange, pink, green, and even black or brown. The carnation and snowdrop are your birth flowers. The carnation’s scientific name is Dianthus caryophyllus, and the flower’s color has different meanings around the world. Traditionally, though, its colors mean:
White = purity and luck
Light Red = admiration
Dark Red = love and affection
Pink = gratitude
Yellow = disappointment or rejection
Purple = capriciousness
Celebrate with National Seed Swap Day and prepare to plant your own!
5 Fast Facts
1. Notable people born in January include:
- Elvis Presley
- Virginia Woolf
- JRR Tolkien
- Bessie Coleman
- Martin Luther King
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Jeanne Picard
- J.D. Salinger
- Zora Hurston
- A.A. Milne
- Carrie Chapman Catt
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Alma Ziegler
- Dian Fossey
2. The Earth always reaches perihelion in early January. Perihelion is when the Earth reaches its farthest point from the Sun.
3. The Quadrantid meteor shower occurs every year in January.
4. Pasadena, California hosts the Rose Parade each year in January.
5. Ellis Island opened on New Year’s Day 1892.
In a month of new beginnings, it’s hard to imagine celebrating anything else, but we do. It’s time to toss out that old fruitcake – well toss it somewhere. January, like any month on the calendar, includes a variety of food holidays to challenge our resolutions. It also challenges us to try new things and rekindle some of the old ways.
Our insurance policies start new in January, too. So when you hang up that new calendar, don’t forget to swap out your insurance cards, too.