The Month of January 2023: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore (2023)

What’s happening in January 2023? This month was named after the Roman god Janus, who fittingly represented new beginnings. Start the first month of the year right. Learn about some fun traditions, quirky holidays, night sky sights, cozy recipes, andmore!


The Month ofJanuary

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, 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.Read more about all 12 months’ names here.

The Romans often made promises to Janus and exchanged good wishes. Read more about the custom of making New Year resolutions—and see how they have changed over time to today!

Janus am I; oldest of potentates;
Forward I look, and backward, and below
I count, as god of avenues and gates,
The years that through my portals come and go.

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Americanpoet (1807–82)

The Month of January 2023: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore (1)Credit:Telia/Shutterstock

History ofJanuary

The months of January and also February were not originally in theancient Roman calendar as the winter months were considered dormant, both in terms of agriculture but also in terms of making war. This was a time of peace. Until 450 BCE, the Roman calendar was 10 months, beginning in March (Martius), due to the March Equinox. Remember March was named for “Mars,” the god of Warwho was also an agriculturalguardian.

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  • January 1 is New Year’s Day. While you’re still recuperating from the prior night’s parties, read about some other new year’s traditions you might not know about and celebrate with some Hoppin’ John for goodluck.
  • January 5 bringsTwelfth 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 isEpiphany.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. Bake a beautiful Epiphany Tart or aKing Cake with a lucky beaninside!
  • January 16isMartin Luther King Jr. Day(observed). This holiday is held on the third Monday in Januaryand honors the principles of this civil rights leader and Nobel Prize Winner dedicated tononviolence.
  • January 17is Benjamin Franklin’s birthday. He was not onlya world-renowned statesman, inventor, and scientist, but was alsofascinated by agriculture. Here at the Old Farmer’s Almanac, we consider him the father ofalmanacs!
  • January 22 is the Lunar New Year. Celebrated widely throughout East Asia, this holiday begins withthe first new Moon after the Winter Solstice and is associated withe the ChineseZodiac.

“Just for Fun”Days

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

  • January 1: Z Day (On this day, those whose last name begins with “Z” get to go first instead oflast.)
  • January 3: National Chocolate-Covered CherryDay
  • January 6: National BeanDay
  • January 8: Elvis Presley’sBirthday
  • January 10: National Houseplant AppreciationDay
  • January 14: National Dress Up Your PetDay
  • January 20: National PenguinDay
  • January 22: National Answer Your Cat’s QuestionsDay
  • January 29: National PuzzleDay

Forgotten Customs: Going Back toWork!

If you enjoy unusual, forgotten, or bygone customs, here are two that traditionally marked the end of the Christmas break when it was time to face the “daily grind.”Often, these were “joke” holidays that mixed up the first days back to hard work with some playfulness thrownin.

The Month of January 2023: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore (2)

January 7: DistaffDay

The day after Epiphany (January 6) was once called Distaff Day and marked when thewomen went back spinningafter the 12-day Christmas celebration. A distaff is a wooden rod (staff) that holds flax or wool. Before the Spinning Wheel arrived, spinning was slowly and tediously done on a Drop Spindle. As is often the case, it’s hard to go back to work after the holidays and not much got done! The women’s husbands would mischievously try to set fire to the flax on their wives’ distaffs, while the women, lying in wait, would retaliate with humor by dousing them with buckets ofwater.

Partly worke and partly play
Ye must on S. Distaffs day:
From the Plough soone free your teame;
Then come home and fother them.
If the Maides a spinning goe,
Burne the flax, and fire the tow:
Scorch their plackets, but beware
That ye singe no maiden-haire.”

–Robert Herrick (17th-century English lyric poet andcleric)

In modern times, fiber artists will often hold alittle Distaff Day celebration! Why not? It’s a day forSpinners!

The Month of January 2023: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore (3)

January 9, 2023: PloughMonday

Dating back to the fifteenth century, the first Monday after Epiphany (January 6) marked the start of the agricultural season, specifically for ploughing the fields for spring-sown crops. Of course, not much work was actually done on the first day!Dressed in clean white smocks decorated with ribbons, the men dragged a plow (plough) through the village and collected money for the “plow light” that was kept burning in the church all year. Often men from several farms joined together to pull the plow through all their villages. They sang and danced their way from village to village to the accompaniment of music. In the evening, each farmer provided a Plough Monday supper for his workers, with plentiful beef and ale forall.

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In modern times, a folk revival has turned Plough Monday to some small communities. If you have a small farm or CSA, why not celebrate the start of spring sowing thisway!


January is here,
With eyes that keenly glow—
A frost-mailed warrior striding
A shadowy steed of snow.

–Edgar Fawcett, American poet (1847–1904)

In the Northern Hemisphere,January is the coldest month of the year in most regions. We’re expecting a chilly start to the New Year. See our forecast for Winter 2023!

Did You Know: According to folklore, the weather of the first 12 days of the year is said to be indicative of the following 12 months. See your long-range weather predictions for the year.


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

Perihelion: Earth Passes Its Closest to theSun

On January 4, 2023, Earth reachesperihelion, which is the point in the planet’s orbit where it is closest to the Sun. At perihelion, Earth will be 91,403,034 miles from our bright star. Don’t forget your sunscreen!Read more about perihelion (and aphelion) here.

The Full WolfMoon

January’s Moon is called the Wolf Moon. The Saxon word for the month wasWulf-monath or “wolfmonth.”

This year,the full Moon reaches peak illumination onFriday, January 6, at 6:09P.M.EST. It can be seen rising from the horizon around sunset thatevening.

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See the January Wolf Moon article to learn more!

The Month of January 2023: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore (4)

The Quadrantid MeteorShower

The Quadrantid meteors appear in the early January sky, producing up to 25 meteors per hour at their peak. They’ll be at their best on the night of January 3 into January 4. For the best chance at spotting them, venture out between midnight and dawn (if you can stand the cold). See our Meteor Shower Calendar to learn more about the year’s meteorshowers.

Gardening: StartPlanning!

For much of the country, January is the best time to start planning your garden for the upcoming season. If you want to learn how to grow the best veggies this year, read our Vegetable Gardening for Beginners Guide.

Then, start dreaming and designing with the Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden Planner! Now offering a free 7-day trial!

Recipes for theSeason

In the month of January, stay warm and cozy with soups, stews, and chowders.

Here are a few of our personalfavorites:

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  • Kale, White Bean, and Sausage Soup
  • Italian Vegetable Soup
  • Bonnie’s Winter Stew
  • Vermont Butternut Squash Soup
  • Potato and Kale Soup

The Month of January 2023: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore (6)Potato and Kale Soup. Photo by GausAlex/Shutterstock.

It’s also a great time to break out the pancake recipes for a warm, hearty breakfast. Here’s a collection of our favorite pancake recipes!


  • Relieve your dry skin with some homemaderemedies.
  • See our tips on how to stay warm this winter.
  • Got snow? See oursnowflake guideand find out iftwo snowflakes can be alike!
  • Are you a cold-weather angler? Check out our ice fishing tips to make it a safe and enjoyabletrip.
  • Refresh your knowledge of winter weather terms to help keep you safe thiswinter.


January’s birthstone, the garnet, is thought to keep the wearer safe during travel. Learn more about January’s birthstone.

The Month of January 2023: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore (7)

January BirthFlower

January’s birth flowers are the carnation and snowdrop. Read more about January’s birth flowers!

The Month of January 2023: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore (8)


January’s Zodiac signsare:

  • Capricorn: December 22–January 19. Read more aboutCapricorn.
  • Aquarius: January 20–February 18. Read more about Aquarius.

Weather Folklore forJanuary

  • Fog in January brings a wetspring.
  • A favorable January brings us a goodyear.
  • If grass grows in January, it will grow badly the wholeyear.
  • A summerish January,
    a winterishspring.

Have a lovely January and a wonderful start to2022!



What's happening in January 2023? ›

January 2023 Celebrations
  • New Year's Day. New Year's Day celebrates the new year on the Gregorian calendar. ...
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day. ...
  • Martin Luther King Celebration of Human Rights Week. Recognition of Dr. ...
  • Unity Week. ...
  • National Day of Racial Healing. ...
  • Holocaust Remembrance Day. ...
  • Lunar New Year.

Did you know fun facts about January? ›

5 Trivial Facts About January
  • January was named after the Roman god Janus. ...
  • The original Roman calendar only had 10 months. ...
  • Julius Caesar added a 31st day to the month. ...
  • Ellis Island opened on January 1, 1892. ...
  • Ancient Anglo-Saxons called it Wulfmonath.

What is special about the month of January? ›

There are several awareness months celebrated in January — though the five that often get the most attention include National Blood Donor Month, Cervical Health Awareness Month, Mental Wellness Month, Poverty Awareness Month, and Veganuary.

What happens in January every year? ›

Major January holidays including New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, and Lunar New Year may come to mind when you think of the first month in 2023.

Why 2023 is a special year? ›

Government of India decided to put forward a proposal to United Nations for declaring the year 2022-2023 as the “International year of millets”. The proposal got support from over 70 countries and the United Nations declared 2023 as the international year of millets.

What big things are happening in 2023? ›

10 Major Events To Look Forward To In 2023
  • Rihanna Performs At The Super Bowl Halftime Show, Feb. ...
  • WorldPride in Sydney, Feb. ...
  • Warner Bros. ...
  • Celebration Picasso 1973-2023, April 8. ...
  • The Coronation Of King Charles, May 6. ...
  • FIFA Women's World Cup, July 20-Aug. ...
  • Disney100, Oct. ...
  • Diwali, Nov.
Jan 10, 2023

What is January Born called? ›

They are either Capricorn or Aquarius. People born before January 20 are Capricorns, while people born toward the end of January have the sign of Aquarius. Capricorns are said to be very independent, disciplined, and organized, often making strong leaders.

What legends are born in January? ›

10 Famous Birthdays to Celebrate in January
  • Joan of Arc: January 6, Circa 1412. ...
  • Zora Neale Hurston: January 7, 1891. ...
  • David Bowie: January 8, 1947. ...
  • Elvis Presley: January 8, 1935. ...
  • Simone de Beauvoir: January 9, 1908. ...
  • Alexander Hamilton: January 11, 1755. ...
  • Martin Luther King Jr.: January 15, 1929. ...
  • Muhammad Ali: January 17, 1942.
Jan 1, 2017

What is January named after? ›

January is named after the Roman god Janus. As you can see in this print, he had two faces so he could see the future and the past. He was also the god of doors.

What is the lucky color in 2023? ›

The lucky color for 2023 is based on the element that rules the sign of the year -it's a color that promises to bring luck, prosperity, and health and can be used to bring those feelings into your interior design project. Forest green is the lucky color for 2023, a color that can represent both – earth and water.

What is the color of the year 2023? ›

Pantone: Viva Magenta

Go bold in the new year with Viva Magenta, Pantone's 2023 Color of the Year. The crimson hue is inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the strongest and brightest dyes in the world.

What country sees 2023 first? ›

2023. The first country and city to celebrate New Year's Eve annually is Kiritimati, Kiribati.

What is 2023 called? ›

While 2021 brought us the Year of the Ox, and 2022 the Year of the Tiger, 2023 will be the Year of the Rabbit.

What is the theme of 2023? ›

The 2023 youth theme comes from Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ.”

Is 2023 the year of anything? ›

The 12 zodiac animals are, in order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
Dates for Rabbit Years.
Rabbit YearsDateElement
2023January 22, 2023 – February 9, 2024Water Rabbit
2011February 3, 2011 – January 22, 2012Gold Rabbit
6 more rows
6 days ago

How smart are January babies? ›

January babies are smart.

Scientists monitored the development of 21,000 boys and girls, and their research indicates winter-born kids had higher scores in a series of intelligence exercises than their peers.

Are January babies rare? ›

January birthdays are super special.

And January holds one of the rarest birthdays of all: January 1st, which falls in the 365th spot (it's safe to assume that not too many folks want to ring in the new year with a scheduled c-section or induction!).

What is the heaviest baby ever born? ›

The Guinness World record for the heaviest baby to survive infancy belongs to a boy weighing 22 pounds, 8 ounces, who was born in Aversa, Italy, in 1955.

What is the spirit animal for January born? ›

Small but mighty, the spirit animal for someone born between December 22 to January 19 is the elephant shrew. Found in Africa, the elephant shrew is a hardworking animal that thrives.

What animal does January represent? ›

January birth symbols:

Aquarius. Animal: Ox. Stone: Garnet (Deep wine red) Flower: Carnation and Snowdrop.

What is a January baby? ›

They're either a Capricorn or Aquarius

Birthdays from January 1st to 19th are Capricorns. This sign is known for being hard-working, ambitious, and practical. January babies born January 20th or later fall under Aquarius. This sign is known for being intelligent, quirky, and independent.

What is the full meaning of January? ›

The month is named after Janus, the Roman god of doorways, beginnings, and the rising and setting of the sun. The name of the God comes from the Latin word jānus, meaning “doorway” or “archway.” Janus is typically depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions, one young and one old.

Is January a girl name? ›

The name January is both a boy's name and a girl's name meaning "month name". Thanks to two cultural influences, January has joined March, April, June and August as a plausible month name.

What is Jan in the Bible? ›

Jan is a Slavic, German, Dutch and Scandinavian variant of John. John originates in Hebrew language and means "God is merciful".

What will happen on January 4th 2023? ›

National days on Wed Jan 4th, 2023. Explore worldwide events, festivals, funny, weird, and national days on this day! It's Tom Thumb Day, Perihelion Day, National Spaghetti Day, National Trivia Day, Pop Music Chart Day… and much more!

What's happening on January 5th 2023? ›

Pope Francis presides over late Pope Emeritus Benedict's funeral. An estimated 100,000 Catholics and other mourners gathered Thursday on St Peter's Square for the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died Saturday at age 95.

What's going to happen on January 2023 Illinois? ›

New Illinois laws in 2023 include the SAFE-T Act, Worker's Rights Amendment, improvements to health care and food access, and more. CHICAGO (WLS) -- With the start of the New Year, there is always a new set of laws going into effect.

What is special on 5th January? ›

January 5th also marks National Whipped Cream Day and National Bird Day.

What is on January 5th? ›

Celebrated annually this day, Epiphany is a major feast that commemorates, for Western Christians, the coming of the Magi and, for Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jesus' birth, baptism by John, and first miracle.

What national day is January 5? ›


What happens on January 6th 2023? ›

Friday, January 6, 2023, will mark 24 months since the attack on the U.S. Capitol that disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the process of affirming the presidential election results.

What is happening on January 7th 2023? ›

I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore Day is commemorated on January 7 every year. The start of a new year is a good time to reflect on our lives and decide what we want to change about them. This is a day dedicated to standing up for yourself.

What Moon is in January 2023? ›

The full Wolf Moon rises on Friday, January 6, 2023. It's also a micromoon!

What is the name of the year 2023? ›

When Is Lunar New Year?
YearLunar New YearChinese Zodiac Sign
2023Sunday, January 22Rabbit
2024Saturday, February 10Dragon
2025Wednesday, January 29Snake
2026Tuesday, February 17Horse

Which country is the last to say goodbye to a day? ›

Last country to celebrate

The last inhabited places to celebrate are the islands of Niue and American Samoa to the southwest of Kiribati in the South Pacific. The day technically ends an hour later in the U.S. territories of Baker Island and Howland Island, but both are uninhabited, Eggert says.

What new law goes into effect beginning january 1 2023? ›

Higher minimum wage and criminal justice reform will be implemented on Jan. 1. Higher minimum wage and criminal justice reform will be implemented on Jan.

How many weeks does January 2023 have? ›

There are 52 weeks in 2023. All weeks are starting on Monday and ending on Sunday.
Week Numbers for 2023.
Week numberFrom DateTo Date
Week 52, 2022Dec. 26, 2022Jan. 1, 2023
Week 01Jan. 2, 2023Jan. 8, 2023
Week 02Jan. 9, 2023Jan. 15, 2023
Week 03Jan. 16, 2023Jan. 22, 2023
50 more rows

How many days are there in January 2023? ›

21 work


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