How January Got Its Name
Ruler of new beginnings, and gates and doors, the Roman god Janus gave January its name. He was pictured with two faces, one looking into the past, and the other into the future. Janus presided over the temple of peace, where the doors were opened only during wartime. It was a place of safety, where new beginnings and new resolutions could be forged.
See more about the origin of month names.
See seasonal advice for January.
January 6 — Epiphany
The Feast of the Epiphany, or Twelfth Day, marks the end of Yule festivities. The word is not specific to Christianity, however, as Zeus’s alias, “Epiphanes,” can attest. It comes from the Greek epiphaneia, meaning “manifestation" or "appearance."
In the church, Epiphany commemorates the manifestation of Jesus’ divine nature to the Magi, the three wise men or kings. In many countries, Three Kings Day is a time of gift giving. Traditional fare is a spice King Cake with a lucky bean baked in it.
Tradition advises the removal of Christmas greens by Epiphany to avoid bad luck.
See suggestions on what to do with your tree.
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Janus am I;
oldest of potentates!
Forward I look and backward.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82)
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