What is the First Month of the Year?
Each year is an opportunity for individuals to reflect upon their past experiences and look ahead. It also serves as a time to recognize achievements and milestones like birthdays, wedding anniversaries or the birth of a baby.
Janus is the beginning and end of each year, being synonymous with doors, passages, frames and transitions. It was named in honor of Janus – a Roman god known for being both beginning and end all at once.
The Gregorian Calendar was established in 1582 and remains the most widely used calendar today. It follows the Julian calendar, with dates determined by the sun’s position within the solar system.
Traditionally, each year was divided into a series of five or six months. The first five were known as Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Junius and Quintilis while the sixth and seventh months were Sextilis and Septuagintis respectively.
However, Roman emperor Numa Pompilius instituted the 10-month calendar in 738 B.C. He then altered it to follow the lunar orbit, so that every 20 years the days would coincide with the same position of the sun as they did during its inception year.
In 452 B.C., a small council of Romans known as the Decemvirs made another change by moving February to follow January.
This was done to keep the year aligned with the solar calendar, since a tropical year usually lasts 365 days and each day doesn’t always begin at exactly one minute. Thus, this was an essential measure to guarantee enough daylight hours each year.