January is the first
monthof the yearin the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. It is, on average, the coolest month of the year within most of the Northern Hemisphere and the warmest month of the year within most of the Southern Hemisphere, characterizing the onset of the Winter and Summer in both hemispheres respectively.
January is named for Janus (
Ianuarius), the god of the doorway; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latinword for door ("ianua") - January is the door to the year. Traditionally, the original Roman calendarconsisted of 10 months, totalling 304 days, winter being considered a monthless period. Around 713 BC, the semi-mythical successor of Romulus, King Numa Pompilius, is supposed to have added the months of January and February, allowing the calendar to equal a standard lunar year (355 days). The first day of the month is known as New Year's Day. Although March was originally the first month in the old Roman Calendar, January assumed that position beginning in 153 BCE when the two consuls, for whom the years were named, began to be chosen on January 1. The reason for this shift of the new year into the dead of winter was to allow the new consuls to complete the elections and ceremonies upon becoming consuls, and still reach their respective consular armies by the start of the campaigning.
Various Christian feast dates were used for the
New Yearin Europein the Middle Ages, including March 25and December 25. However, medieval calendars were displayed in the Roman fashion of twelve columns from January to December. Beginning in the 16th century, European countries began officially making January 1the start of the New Year once again — sometimes called "Circumcision Style" because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, being the 8th day from December 25.
Historical names for January include its original Roman designation, Ianuarius, the Saxon term Wulf-monath (meaning wolf month) and
Charlemagne's designation Wintarmanoth (winter / cold month). In Finnish, the month is called "tammikuu", meaning "month of the oak", but the original meaning was "the month of the heart of winter", as "tammi" has initially meant "axis" or "core". This month is in Czech called "leden", meaning "ice month".
The first Monday in January is known as
Handsel Mondayin Scotlandand northern England. In England, the agricultural year began with Plough Sundayon the Sunday after Epiphany.
Coming of Ageday in Japanis the second Monday of January, for those becoming 20 years old in the new calendar year. It is a national holiday. The day has been celebrated since 1948, but fell on January 15until 1999, when it was moved by the Japanese governmentin an attempt to lift the economy by making more holidays consecutive.
In the pagan
wheel of the year, January ends at or near to Imbolcin the northern hemisphere and Lughnasadhin the southern hemisphere.
It is the middle month of summer in the Southern Hemisphere and the middle of winter in the Northern.
January starts on the same day of the week as October in common years, and April and July in leap years.
Events in January
New Year's Day- January 1
Christmas- January 7
*Coming-of-Age Day (成人の日 Seijin no hi) in
Japan- Second Monday
Martin Luther King, Jr. Dayin the United States- Third Monday
Australia Dayin Australia- January 26
Republic Dayin India- January 26
Auckland Anniversaryin Auckland, New Zealand- Monday closest to January 29
birthstoneis the garnet.
*Its birth flower is the
carnationor snowdrop. [http://www.birthflowersguide.com/january-birth-flower.html]
*The Chinese floral emblem of January is the
plum blossom.cn|date=March 2008
*The Japanese floral emblem of January is the
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