Why Is January Called January?

Monday, December 24, 2012 posted by Martin
Happy New Year Engraved Stone

Happy New Year Stone

Many of us wonder how the days of the week and the months of the year got their names.  This blog explains the origin the months and in particular the month of January.

The ancient Greek states worked out the relationship of twelve lunar months to each solar year.  Subsequently, the Romans modified their calendar to incorporate features of the Greek calendar and arrive at the Julian Calendar.    Using ideas from the Republican and Egyptian calendars, Caesar was able to realign the months to the solar cycle.  However, in those days, March was the first month.  It was not until 1582 that Pope Gregory XIII pushed for the revamped calendar.

January takes its name from Januar, the festival of Janus who was the ancient god of gates and all beginnings.  Therefore, January was meant to be the first month of the solar year.  However this did not happen for many years, just about the time that stone engraving was developed.

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