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January (Listeni/ˈænjuːˌɛəri/ JAN-yoo-AIR-ee) is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and one of seven months with the length of 31 days. The first day of the month is known as New Year's Day. It is, on average, the coldest month of the year within most of the Northern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of winter) and the warmest month of the year within most of the Southern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of summer). In the Southern hemisphere, January is the seasonal equivalent of July in the Northern hemisphere and vice versa.


January (in 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.

Traditionally, the original Roman calendar consisted of 10 months totaling 304 days, winter being considered a month-less 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 (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 (Roman writers differ). In contrast, specific years pertaining to dates were identified by naming two consuls, who entered office on May 1 and March 15 until 153 BC, when they began to enter office on January 1.

Various Christian feast dates were used for the New Year in Europe during the Middle Ages, including March 25 and December 25. However, medieval calendars were still displayed in the Roman fashion of twelve columns from January to December. Beginning in the 16th century, European countries began officially making January 1 the start of the New Year once again—sometimes called Circumcision Style because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, being the seventh day after 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 Slovene, it is traditionally called január. The name, associated with millet bread and the act of asking for something, was first written in 1466 in the Škofja Loka manuscript.[1]

According to Theodor Mommsen,[2] 1 January became the first day of the year in 600 AUC of the Roman Calendar (153 BC), due to disasters in the Lusitanian War. A Lusitanian chief called Punicus invaded the Roman territory, defeated two Roman governors, and slew their troops. The Romans resolved to send a consul to Hispania, and in order to accelerate the dispatch of aid, "they even made the new consuls enter on office two months and a half before the legal time" (15th of March).

Month-long observances

January, painting by Leandro Bassano

Food Months in the United States

Non-Gregorian observances, 2016

Movable observances, 2016 dates

First Friday - January 1

First Monday - January 4

Second Saturday - January 9

Second Monday - January 11

Third Friday - January 15

Friday before third Monday - January 15

Third full week of January - January 17–23

Third Sunday - January 17

Third Monday - January 18

Friday between January 19-25 - January 22

Last week of January - 24-30

Fourth Monday - January 25

Monday closest to January 29 - January 25

January 30 or the nearest Sunday - January 31

First Week of February - January 31-February 6

Movable Western Christian Observances, 2016

Movable Eastern Christian Observances, 2016

Fixed observances

January symbols

Snow in Northern Hemisphere in the month of January
  • January's birthstone is the garnet which represents constancy.
  • Its birth flower is the cottage pink Dianthus caryophyllus or galanthus.[27]
  • The Chinese floral emblem of January is the Prunus mume.[citation needed]
  • The Japanese floral emblem of January is the camellia (Camellia sinensis).[citation needed]
  • In Finnish, the month of tammikuu means the heart of the winter and because the name literally means Oak moon, it can be inferred that the oak tree is the heart of grand forest with many valuable trees as opposed to the typical Arctic forests which are typically pine and spruce. The photograph of a large tree covered with ice against a blue sky is a familiar scene during Finland's winter.
  • The zodiac signs for the month of January are Capricorn (until January 19) and Aquarius (January 20 onwards).


  1. Stabej, Jože (1966). "Ob petstoletnici škofjeloškega zapisa slovenskih imen za mesece". Loški razgledi (in Slovenian). Muzejsko društvo Škofja Loka [Museum Society of Škofja Loka]. 13. ISSN 0459-8210. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. The History of Rome, volume 4, The Revolution, ISBN 1-4353-4597-5, page 4
  3. "January National Codependency Awareness Month". Diane Jellen.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  5. "Presidential Proclamation--National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month". whitehouse.gov.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Presidential Proclamation--Stalking Awareness Month". whitehouse.gov.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  8. "JANUARY 2009, AS "CALIFORNIA DRIED PLUM DIGESTIVE HEALTH MONTH"". Office of the Governor, State of California. November 20, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  11. Gavilan, Jessica (February 7, 2006). "Mark your calendar". The Gainesville Sun.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. http://www.hellenion.org/calendar/2016/2016HellenionCalendar.html
  13. http://www.drikpanchang.com/vrats/pradoshdates.html?year=2016
  14. http://www.hindu-blog.com/2010/12/amavasya-in-january-2011-in-hindu.html
  15. http://www.hellenion.org/calendar/2016/2016HellenionCalendar.html
  16. http://www.hindu-blog.com/2009/03/hanuman-jayanthi-2009.html
  17. http://www.happinesskingdom.com/traditional-day-of-offering/
  18. http://www.hellenion.org/calendar/2016/2016HellenionCalendar.html
  19. https://anydayguide.com/calendar/2823
  20. http://www.officeholidays.com/countries/india/2016.php
  21. http://publicholidays.asia/nepal/
  22. http://calendar.bahaiq.com/172/17
  23. http://www.drikpanchang.com/vrats/pradoshdates.html?year=2016
  24. http://www.hellenion.org/calendar/2016/2016HellenionCalendar.html
  25. http://www.festivalsofindia.in/
  26. "The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herezgovina declared unconstitutional the day of RS". b92.net. Retrieved 9 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "January Birth Flower : Flower Meaning". birthflowersguide.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>