The Invention of January
Thursday Nov 21st, 2019
Happy January, the traditional first month of the year! But how did January get to be the first month of the year? Consider that until the 1700s, calendars were not always as we see them today.
January 1 became the first day of the new year when Julius Caesar reorganized the Roman calendar and made it solar rather than lunar In the year 45 B.C.E. he moved the beginning of the year to January 1.
When the Gregorian calendar—which most of the world uses today—was introduced in 1582, January 1 continued to be recognized as the first day of the year in most places. However, in England and the American colonies the first of the year was March 25, intended to represent the spring equinox. Under this system, March 24, 1700, was followed by March 25, 1701. In 1752, the British government changed the beginning of the year to January 1.
January is named for Janus, considered the Roman god of the doorway or the gatekeeper, appropriate as January is the doorway of the year