What is January? What does december mean? January definition and information about the month January.
January; in the Gregorian calendar, is the first month of the year. It has 31 days. January was sacred to the Roman god Janus, whose name means “door” and who was the deity of beginnings. January was originally the 11th month of the year, added about 700 b. c. to the 10-month early Roman calendar, which began in March.
In 153 b.c., January 1, the day new consuls took office, was made the start of the Roman civil year; it continued so in the Julian calendar of 45 b.c. Popular usage, however, still regarded March, the season of the spring equinox, as the beginning of the new year. In medieval Europe, to avoid pagan customs, the new year was generally celebrated on a Christian feast day, and January 1 was not accepted as New Year’s Day in England and Sweden until the mid-18th century, when those countries finally adopted the Gregorian calendar. Secular holidays in January include New Year’s Day, a time of general celebration. The chief religious holidays are Twelfth Night (January 5) and Epiphany (January 6).
Noteworthy events that occurred in January are Caesar’s crossing the Rubicon (Jan. 10, 49 B.C.), the beheading of Louis XVI of France (Jan. 21, 1793), the discovery of gold in California (Jan. 24, 1848), and the first assembly of the United Nations, in London (Jan. 10, 1946). Famous people born in January include Cicero (Jan. 3, 106 b. c), Frederick the Great (Jan. 24, 1712), Mozart (Jan. 27, 1756), and Robert E. Lee (Jan. 19, 1807).
In the Northern Hemisphere, January is a winter month, called “Wolf Month” by the Anglo-Saxons. In the French Revolutionary calendar it corresponded to parts of the months of Nivose (“month of snow”) and Pluviose (“month of rain”). The birthstone for January is the garnet, and flowers associated with the month are the carnation and the snowdrop.