January is the first month of the year according to the Gregorian calendar, counting 31 days, and is placed in the first half of a calendar year. The name January comes from the Roman god Janus (Ianuarius), a deity in charge of the gates and bridges, often invoked along with Jupiter, but more generally represented in all forms of transition and change.
In fact January is the month that opens the doors of the new year. One possibility to consider is that the figure of Janus was inspired by that of Ušmu, a Sumerian God with two faces, otherwise called Isimud or in full Babylonian age, Kaka.
This cult is probably very ancient, dating back to the Archaic era, in which the worship of the people were still largely tied to the natural cycles of harvesting and sowing. Janus in the archaic era was simply a god linked to natural cycles, but then with the passage of time the legends became increasingly complex.
Janus infact presides over all beginnings and the steps and thresholds, material and immaterial, as the thresholds of the houses, the doors, the covered passages and those dominated by an arch, but also the beginning of a new business, of human life, of economic life, of historical time and the mythical, religion, the gods themselves, the world, humanity, of civilization and institutions.
In the myth of Janus he would have reigned as a king, and founded a city and spread the culture to Aboriginal people, its original inhabitants. With the nymph Camese he also generated several children, among whom was the god Tiber, lord of the Tiber. Janus is a kind of cultural hero because he is credited among other things for the invention of money, navigation and agriculture.
The original Roman calendar was shorter than the Gregorian with 304 days, because the Romans considered the winter months without a period. It was Numa Pompilius, who added January and February, making the year the same as the calendar year. In his reform of the Roman calendar, Numa Pompilio dedicated to Janus the first month following the winter solstice. Although March was the first month of the year until the middle of the second century AD, after that date, the beginning of the year was identified with January as the period in which were chosen consuls and magistrates.
The first day of January is New Year's Eve. Historical names of the month are, in addition to the Roman Ianuarius, the Saxon Wulf-Monath (month of the Wolf) and the term used by Charlemagne was Wintarmanoth (winter months). In Finnish, the month is called tammikuu, or month of oak, while in the Czech is called leden, meaning month of the ice.
The first Monday of January is called Handsel Monday in Scotland and in Northern England. In England, the agricultural year began with Plough Sunday, the Sunday after the Epiphany. In the year Pagan Wheel of the Year, January ends the period of Imbolc in the northern hemisphere and Lughnasadh in the southern hemisphere.
January in Northern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of July in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa.
In non-leap years, it January begins in the same day as in October. The stone of the month is the garnet. The flower of the month is the carnation or Galanthus. The last three days of January are called days of the blackbird.