It is cold, miserable and damp, but January isn’t all misery, right? In an attempt to convince myself of this, I did some reading and have put together a list of my TOP 5 THINGS YOU PROBABLY NEVER KNEW ABOUT JANUARY! (Or, at least, 5 things I never knew about January… you might have.)
5.The word ‘January’ comes from the Latin word for ‘Door’
See, I always thought it was named after a Roman god, like half the other months. Specifically Janus (who is the god of beginnings and transistions) as his name is… well, it fairly obviously leads to January. Turns out he’s named after the Latin word for door as well (makes sense when you think about it).
So yeah, January derives from ‘Ianuarius‘ and according to ancient Roman almanacs originally the ‘god of the month’ wasn’t Janus at all, but Juno the Goddess of marriage and childbirth!
4. Originally January (Or Ianuarius) only had 29 days
That mucks up the old poem a bit, doesn’t it? It wasn’t for very long though as Julius Ceasar added the extra two days on in 45BC.
(Total side note, Roman calendars were REALLY CONFUSING! They didn’t just have 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc, but some other totally bizarre system that hurt my head. Here’s the Wiki-link if you want to have a look.)
3. The Saxons called January ‘Wulfmonath’
Unsurprisingly, this means ‘Wolf-Month’ and it was so called because it was the time of year when food was at its scarcest and therefore hungry wolves would be most often on the prowl.
2. The first recorded mention of ‘January Sales’ in the UK was in 1865
That’s a whole lot earlier than I was expecting it to be! I thought it was quite a recent commercialised thing.
1. Apart from in Leap Years, January always starts with the same day as October!
And in Leap Years it begins with the same day as April and July.
BONUS QUIZ QUESTION: January is only directly mentioned in two Shakespeare plays – what are they?
Answer in next Friday’s post (or on social media if you ask nicely!)