Where does the month of January get its name?

Jerry Anderson   January 15, 2016   Comments Off on Where does the month of January get its name?

How did the month of January receive its name? The first month of the year is named after the Roman God Janus who had two faces, one looking forward and the other backward. One face looked into the future and the other into the past. He was the patron god of entrances, gates and doorways, of beginnings, and of births.

Like Janus, we reflect upon the past while looking forward to the future.

Like Janus, we reflect upon the past while looking forward to the future.

Note:Julius Caesar made January the first month of the year in 46 B.C..

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That January is the first month of the year seems logical since at the beginning of the year we gaze forward to the coming year and reflect back on the year just past. Our practice of New Year’s resolutions stems from this.

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When you make a New Year’s resolution, give a brief thought to the Roman god Janus.

Eventually, the god Janus became associated not only with entrances and doorways, but with the entire building they allowed entrance into. And that is why the person who takes care of a building (cleaning, repairing,…) is sometimes called a “janitor.” The Christian figure of Saint Peter was, in the early christian era, sometimes referred to as the “janitor of heaven” because of his oversight of the entrance to that realm. Also, the term “Janus-faced” refers to a deceitful and two-faced person who is not to be trusted.

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The janitors who care for the buildings all around us owe the name of their profession to the ancient Roman god Janus.

If you would like more information, watch this 5 minute You Tube video about Janus.

FINIS.