January: Holidays, fun facts, and everything else you should know

What’s happening in January 2022? This month was named after the Roman god Janus, who fittingly represented new beginnings. Start the first month of the year right. Keep reading to learn about some fun traditions, quirky holidays, night sky sights, and more.

The month of January

January was named for the Roman god Janus, known as the protector of gates and doorways who symbolize beginnings and endings. Janus is depicted with two faces, one looking into the past and the other with the ability to see into the future. What a fitting symbol for this first day of the year; this month is our door into the new year.

January calendar

• January 1 was New Year’s Day.

• January 5 brings Twelfth Night, an English folk custom that marked the end of Christmas merrymaking, and in ancient Celtic tradition, the end of the 12-day winter solstice celebration. On Twelfth Night, it was customary for the assembled company to toast each other from the wassail bowl.

• January 6 is Epiphany. According to the New Testament’s Gospels, on this date the Magi—the three wise men or kings—venerated and brought gifts to the infant Jesus.

• January 17 is Benjamin Franklin’s birthday. He was not only a world-renowned statesman, inventor, and scientist, but he was also fascinated by agriculture.

• January 17 is also Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This holiday is held on the third Monday in January and honors the principles of this civil rights leader and Nobel Prize Winner dedicated to nonviolence.

“Just for Fun” Days in January

January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month and National Hot Tea Month. Here are some more fun things to celebrate in January:

• January 1 was Z Day. On this day, those whose last name begins with “Z” get to go first instead of last.

• January 3 was National Chocolate-Covered Cherry Day.

• January 6 is National Bean Day.

• January 8 is Elvis Presley’s Birthday.

• January 10 is National Houseplant Appreciation Day.

• January 14 is National Dress Up Your Pet Day.

• January 20 is National Penguin Day.

• January 22 is National Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day.

• January 29 is National Puzzle Day.

January quiz

Which of these television networks debuted in January?


B. VH1



January astronomy

Even in astronomy, there is a sense of new beginnings. In the Northern Hemisphere, the days are starting to get longer again and we look forward to the light’s re-emergence.

On January 4, 2022, Earth reaches perihelion, which is the point in the planet’s orbit where it is closest to the Sun. At perihelion, Earth will be 91,406,842 miles from our bright star.

January’s moon is called the Wolf Moon. The Saxon word for the month was Wulf-monath or “wolf month.” This year, the full moon reaches peak illumination at 6:51 P.M. EST on Monday, January 17. It can be seen rising from the horizon around sunset that evening.

January moon phases are as follows:

• New Moon: January 2

• First Quarter: January 9

• Full Moon: January 17

• Last Quarter: January 25

The Quadrantid meteors appear in the early January sky, producing up to 25 meteors per hour at their peak. They were at their best on the night of Monday, January 3, and into Tuesday, January 4.

January birth flowers

The traditional January birth flowers are the carnation and the snowdrop.

Native to the Mediterranean area, the carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) is a widely cultivated fringe-petaled flower, with a spicy fragrance. It was first imported to the United States in the 1850s and within two decades more than 50 varieties had been made available. It has long been a staple in the flower industry—especially for Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day—thanks to its meanings of love and remembrance.

Translated from Greek, carnation is often referred to as “flower of the gods.” It grew in the wild on the hillsides of Greece and is said to have been named by Greek botanist Theophrastus. The carnation’s history dates back to when it was used in garlands, art and decor in both ancient Greece and Roman times.

At one time, the carnation was used to treat fevers in Europe. In the Elizabethan era it was used to spice wine and ale as a substitute for the more expensive clove. An essential oil can be extracted from the flower of a carnation and is used for aromatherapy and perfumes. It is traditionally prescribed in European herbal medicine to treat coronary and nervous disorders.

In the Netherlands, a white carnation is worn in remembrance of veterans, and the resistance in World War II. Bright red carnations represent the 1970s military and civil coup in Portugal, which is often referred to as the Revolution of the Carnations. Red carnations also symbolize socialism and the labor movements, and have been worn on International Workers’ Day (May 1).

In early times, carnations were predominantly pale pink and peach, but over the years the availability of colors has grown to include red, yellow, white, orange, purple, and green, as well as bicolors and frosted varieties. As with roses, different-colored carnations convey different meanings.

Notably the earliest garden flower to bloom, the snowdrop (Galanthus) emerges in late winter or early spring, sometimes when snow is still on the ground. Although native to the cooler mountainous, wooded, and grassland regions of southern Europe and Asia Minor, snowdrops have since been naturalized in the United States. The snowdrop’s genus name, Galanthus, is derived from the Greek words gala (milk) and anthos (flower), referencing the flower’s pure white appearance.

Snowdrops are used to express both sympathy or celebration. During happy times, it is thought to provide optimism and hope, but following a death or misfortune, it symbolizes compassion. Innocence is also linked to the snowdrop because of its color.

According to one Christian story, an angel turned snowflakes into snowdrops and gave them to Adam and Eve as a sign of hope after their banishment from the Garden of Eden.

Amongst pagans, the snowdrop is associated with the beginning of spring, as it is thought that the arrival of the first blooming flower signifies the end of winter.

A single snowdrop bloom brought inside was once believed to represent death, as it was traditionally known to grow in graveyards. Nowadays, this delicate flower—often one of the first to poke through the snow in late winter—signifies hope and beauty.

January birthstone

The January birthstone, garnet, is surrounded by folklore and was known for its healing properties. This beautiful gem’s name references the bright red pomegranate fruit, although it actually comes in a diverse range of colors.

While best known for its deep red hue (given its close association with the pomegranate), garnet naturally occurs in a range of colors, including greens, yellows, and even blues. Garnets can range in appearance from completely opaque to transparent.

Garnet is actually made up of many minerals, including pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular, andradite, and uvarovite, which are important as gems.

A great amount of folklore surrounds the garnet, stemming from a diverse range of cultures and time periods. One common thread is the idea that garnet protects its wearer from something—be that enemies, illness, or bad dreams.

For centuries, garnet was viewed as a symbol of love and friendship, and a way to promote protection and healing.

In third and fourth century Rome, garnet would be used for protection by warriors going into battle. It was also thought to provide safe passage on long journeys.

Over the years, royalty also favored garnet jewelry and garment adornments for its protection abilities.

Native American healers thought garnet to possesses the ability to protect against injury and poison, while in ancient Egypt, it was thought to ward off bad dreams and cure depression.

According to biblical legend, Noah is said to have used a garnet gem on the Ark as a source of light.

In times of battle, Asian tribes used garnets as bullets, believing they would cause more harm.

In ancient and medieval times, gems like garnet were used as remedies for inflammatory diseases and to soothe the angry heart.

During the Middle Ages, garnets hung around the neck, were known as a cure for indigestion and sore throats.

In more modern times, its suggested garnet provides wearers with loyalty and unchanging affections. It is also thought to encourage success in business.

January astrology

January’s zodiac signs are Capricorn (December 22 through January 19) and Aquarius (January 20 through February 18).

Capricorn: Out with the old, in with the new! Thanks to the New Moon in your sign on January 2 and Venus continuing to move retrograde until January 29, you’re likely more than ready for some fresh air. You might feel like you’re way overdue for a new beginning that matches your identity and life goals.

If you’ve started the new year with relationship difficulties, they’re likely to peak this month. Venus Retrograde wants you to use this karmic ending period to free yourself from any relationship that no longer fits. The Full Moon in your partnership sector on January 17 might lead to an ending if that’s the case. Either way, get ready for a major adjustment in your love life or some illumination about your partnership needs.

When Mars enters your sign on January 24, you should finally be able to get moving and put all of your plans into action. Practically nothing will be able to stop you as you throw every mountain out of your way. Look out!

Key themes for Capricorn: identity, makeovers, self-worth, self-love, partnership, commitment, goals, and new ventures.

Aquarius: Powerful forces may be at work behind the scenes, no matter how quiet things seem in the beginning of this month—and this year. A New Moon lands in your 12th House of Hidden Things on January 2, while Venus still remains retrograde in the same sector until January 29. This can truly be breakthrough time for any unresolved relationship or financial anxieties that might be preventing you from living your most fearless, fulfilled life.

Mercury turns retrograde in your sign on January 14, presenting you with the necessary space to review how you’re communicating your thoughts and ideas out in the world. If you feel misunderstood, it’s possible that you’re sending out some mixed signals. Again, this might be due to a certain level of nerves or uncertainty about your plans. Double-checking your facts and examining why you’re doing and saying things is extra important now. In love and relationships, it is possible that you’ll feel more confused than usual about where you are during Mercury Retrograde. Hold off on final decisions until next month -- you should have all the clarity you need by then.

Key themes for Aquarius: reclusiveness, solitude, respite, healing, surrendering, awareness, breakthroughs, breakdowns, and confusion.

Quiz answer

B., VH1. Originally an initialism of Video Hits One, VH1 is an American basic cable television network based in New York City and owned by ViacomCBS. It was created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, at the time a division of Warner Communications and the original owner of MTV, and launched on January 1, 1985 in the former space of Turner Broadcasting System’s short-lived Cable Music Channel.

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