Every culture has its own tradition, history and calendar. Every calendar has many myths and stories attached to it. At the beginning of a New Year, it should be interesting to know the fascinating facts on January.
The New Year lure is still alive everywhere. January, the beginning of the calendar of the western world, has many interesting myths. The first day of the Roman calendar is called the New Year Day.
Myths about January
1) The name Janus and month January
The name January itself has a mythological story. Since it is the first month of the year it is said that January is the turning point of time, looking back and forward. It will have the memories and sighs of the passing year whereas it will have hopes and anxious expectations about the forthcoming year. Janus was the Roman god of Time who had two faces, one face was old, wrinkled, bearded and was looking back and the other face was clean shaved, looking forward with a fresh and energetic face.
2) January effect
People always have a tagged notion on their first events. Superstition about “being first” at the change of time is commonly found all over the world. They believe that the new beginnings will bring luck and good results. This “January Effect” has affected even financial matters and people are eagerly waiting for the “January effect”. For example, 2011 was not so good economically and people hope that 2012 will bring better results.
3) The first footing tradition
There is a mythological belief that the first seconds, minutes and hour are very important in the following year. Hence they wait to kiss their loved ones on the stroke of midnight to ensure they remain closer to them through the coming year. So also they have superstitions on many “first footing” traditions. Many still uphold the belief that the first person appearing through the door after the stroke of midnight will set the tone for the following year.
4) Myths on first symbols
It is believed that if the first person that one meets at the turn of the year is a dark haired male stranger, bearing symbolic gifts of coal, it means the year will be warm, or if he brings salt or money the new year will bring prosperity. If the first thing got on the first day is bread, it means abundance of food and if it is something green it means long life and good luck.
Myths about other days in January
1) January 1st is called National Hangover Day and has a lot of myths on hangovers.
2) The Saxons considered January 2nd as the most unlucky day of year to be born and they believed those born on this day were said to be destined to suffer an unpleasant death, whether violent or unusual.
3) January 5th is called Twelfth Night, as it is the end of the Christmas celebrations. That is why people still believe it will bring bad luck to leave the Christmas decorations and tree up after this date.