Ancient Romans referred to January as “Ianuarius” (meaning month of Janus), a word not so far removed from the modern day January and taken from the Etruscan word “Jauna” meaning “door”. The Romans dedicated it as their first month to their god of gateways and doorways whose name was JANUS, hence the name January.
Originally, the old Roman calendar began in spring; the season of new beginnings in the month of March. The beginning of their year was dedicated to the god of war – Mars. According to the Romans, the first (1st) month was the gate through which everyone enters the calendar year; this made it easier to exert unfair influence and control on their enemies by dedicating it to the god Janus hoping they would have better favor in wars. Therefore, January became the first (1st) month of the Gregorian year. In 46 B.C.E., Julius Caesar initiated a thorough reform that resulted in the establishment of a new dating system, the Julian calendar.Click Here to View as PDF