Lincolnshire Today readers might be interested to know how the month of January derived its name – apparently it’s from the ancient Italian god, Janus, Januarius being the Latin name, which signified “the month pertaining to Janus.”
It is sometimes thought that January, being the first month of the year, was so named because Janus was the god of beginnings. But, when one considers the oldest of the Roman calendars had only ten months one can see this wasn’t the case.
It wasn’t until seven hundred years B.C. that the calendar was readjusted and two months were added to the year. The names given to them were Januarius and Februarius – and were the eleventh and twelfth months of the year. It is thought that they were so named because the first contained a feast day in honor of Janus, and the second included the Roman festival of purification (februum).
March continued to be the first month of the year until long after the Christian Era had begun and March 25th, because that date coincided with the vernal equinox (the beginning of spring) in the Julian calendar, was the day upon which the year began.
It was not until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar that January was accepted in all countries as the first month of the year at which time it was decided that January 1st should be observed as New Year’s Day. This calendar was prescribed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, to correct errors in the Julian calendar, but here in Lincolnshire it was not adopted until 1752 along with the rest of England (well, we’ve always been rather special haven’t we..).
I’ll drink to that …oops no I won’t, just remembered my new years resolution.