January

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January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, coming between December (of the previous year) and February (of the current year). It has 31 days.

The Month[change | change source]

Snow in January in the Northern Hemisphere, where it is a winter month.

January is named for Janus, the Roman god of doors and gates.

January and February were put on the calendar after all the other months. This is because in the original Roman calendar, winter did not have months. Although March was originally the first month, January became the new first month because that was when people chose the new consuls (Roman leaders).

January is a winter month in the Northern Hemisphere and a summer month in the Southern Hemisphere. In each hemisphere, it is the seasonal equivalent of July in the other. Perihelion, the point in its orbit where the Earth is closest to the Sun, also occurs in this month, between January 2 and January 5. January has 31 days and starts on the same day of the week as October in common years and the same day as April and July in leap years. It ends on the same day of the week as February and October in common years, and ends on the same day as July in leap years. January is the only month of the year that always has a "twin" - a month that starts and ends on the same day of the week as it does. In a common year, this is October. In a leap year, this is July.

January's flower is the carnation with its birthstone being the garnet. The meaning of the garnet is constancy.

The first day of January is called New Year's Day. It is said that it became this date when Roman consuls took office on this day in 153 BC. Different calendars across Europe made this the start of the New Year at different times, as some observed it on March 25.

Reaching over from December, the Christmas season in Christianity also extends into this month. Eastern churches celebrate Christmas on January 6 or January 7, and Epiphany on January 18 or January 19 - In Western Christianity this occurs on January 6, with Christmas occurring on December 25.

Events[change | change source]

Fixed Events[change | change source]

Winter scene in Tallinn, Estonia on New Year's Day 2010.
The Three Kings, or Magi, who are commemorated on January 6 in Western Christianity and January 19 in Eastern Christianity.
Traditional Burns Night supper, traditionally eaten in Scotland and Scottish communities on January 25.
Australia Day celebration in Sydney on January 26, 2004.


Month-long or Moveable Events[change | change source]

Martin Luther King, Jr. is commemorated in the United States on the Third Monday in January.


Selection of Historical Events[change | change source]

The Euro currency came into use in twelve EU member states on January 1, 2002.
Photo Montage of the Galilean moons, discovered on January 7, 1610.
Landing force preparing to overthrow Hawaii's monarchy on January 17, 1893.
The planet Uranus, photographed by Voyager 2 on January 24, 1986.
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986.

Trivia[change | change source]

Statue of the Roman God Janus.


Months of the Year

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December