The month of January is celebrated as the month of the new year by many nations around the world. While there are different days marking the new year to different peoples across the world, I became curious why January marked the beginning of the year and was that always the date.
I noticed this pattern to history…
The first New Years to be celebrated on January 1st was in 46 B.C. when the Julian calendar which was implemented by Julius Caesar. Prior to this the Roman were using a lunar calendar, however, they often fell out of phase with seasons leading to a need for change.
Julius Caesar appointed an Alexandrian Astronomer named Sosigenes. Sosigenes advised Caesar to implement the solar calendar used by the Egyptians as opposed to the lunar calendar they were presently operating by. Under the lunar calendar the Romans had celebrated New Years in March, however, with the introduction of the Julian calendar, the new year was now celebrated in January.
There was a problem with the calculation…
Sosigenes and Julius Caesar had decided:
- The year would be 365 and 1/4 days long.
- The year would begin in January.
- Every 4 years a day would be added to February to keep his calendar from falling out of step.
The correct measure for the solar year (tropical year) is approximately 365.242199 not 365.25.
This error led to the calendar being off 11 minutes per year and by the year 1000 added 7 days and by the 1500’s added 10 days. Pope Gregory XIII of the Roman Church appointed a Jesuit astronomer named Christopher Clavius to fix the problem. Clavius had decided to remove 10 days from that year and establishing a new rule that only one of every 400 years should be a leap year.
In 1582, the Gregorian calendar was implemented which is the calendar used by most of the world today.
Now I want to remind you that before all of this tampering, we had been celebrating the new year in March following a lunar calendar. It is also important to point out there is an overlap with Christianity…
All four gospels and Tacitus in Annals (XV,44) agree that the crucifixion occurred when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea from 26-36 AD. All four gospels say the crucifixion occurred on a Friday. All four gospels agree that Jesus died a few hours before the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath (nightfall on a Friday) – Daily Mail
The Julian Calendar was introduced in 46BC by Julius Caeser. The prior lunar calendar used by the Romans placed the beginning of the year in March, consisting of only 304 days or 10 months named Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Junius, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and December.
Martius or March = First
Aprilis or April = Second
Maius or May = Third
Junius or June = Fourth
Quintilis or July = Fifth
Sextilis or August = Sixth
Now here is where things become interesting…
September = 7 month… A septagon is a 7 sided polygon.
October = 8 month… A octagon is an 8 sided polygon.
November = 9 month… A nonagon is a 9 sided polygon.
December = 10 month… A decagon is a 10 sided polygon.
Even today we can see that the 12 months of our year are originally from the system of 10 months of the year from the lunar calendar that designated March as the beginning of the year.
If the Romans were operating under the lunar calendar, would that not be the lunar calendar given to Moses by God in the Old Testament? Would this not be the calendar being used before they moved to the Julian calendar, a solar calendar? We might be able to answer these questions by finding out if the Christian Bible mentions anything about the new year.
Does the Christian Bible state anything regarding the beginning of the year?
Yes, inside of the old testament in the book of Exodus in very clear language located at Exodus 12:1.
When is the month of Passover?
If Passover is in Nisan and Nisan falls in March or April of the Gregorian Calendar, it appears the Romans were using the lunar calendar of Moses before changing to the Julian calendar in 46 BC. I would assume this would be a very drastic change for a peoples following the teachings of their faith to be forced to recognize another day as the new year and many did not.
Something I noticed regarding “Nisan/Nissan”
In the above image you will notice the sun every march intersects with the equinox during the Passover also known as Nisan.
With that thought in mind would you call the following a coincidence?
I also found this very intriguing about the month of March or Aries:
The strangeness continues when you start looking into the name “January”…
It is conventionally thought that the month of January is named for Janus (Ianuarius), but according to ancient Roman farmers’ almanacs Juno was the tutelary deity of the month. – Wikipedia
There seems to be a discrepancy between whether January was named after Juno of the Greeks or Janus of the Romans, however, my common sense tells me that Julius Caesar would honor a Roman deity as opposed to a Greek and there was no Greek equivalent for the god Janus. He was unique to Rome.
100 years after the introduction of the Julian calendar and January new year came coins of Janus
After some research into Janus, he appears to be a personification of the moon:
This shouldn’t be too surprising for those who are familiar with the lunar horns of Moses…
Sun and moon worship had emerged in Egypt. You can see throughout different cultures the impression it has had and interestingly enough this is also addressed in the Christian bible.
In Egypt there existed different cults such as the Stellar cult, Solar, Lunar and Saturnian. For more information regarding them have a look into the works of Michael Tsarion. It appears through observation we can see some overlap with Christianity and lunar worship.
Moses had went to Mount Sinai to speak with God in Exodus 19 and Sinai means “moon”
Going back to Janus who is a personification for the light and dark phases of the moon.
As you can see from the images below there was an evolution in the artwork and symbolism of Janus
- A man with two heads (sometimes one older and one younger)
- Alchemical drawings of Janus with one male head and one female as well as wings like a dragon.
- Alchemical drawings of one side holding a sword the other a crown with serpents below the feet.
- Janus became the double headed eagle with the crown holding the sword.
- Sometimes shown with 2 keys depicted representing the moon(sliver) and the sun (gold key).
You can see the older drawings of Janus also depicting the key:
Most countries did not acknowledge January first until the 1600’s with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar put in place to correct the miscalculation from the prior Julian calendar. Most of Europe was still celebrating March as New Years until the King of France Charles IX said that since Easter changed being based on the lunar calendar and changing every year under the solar calendar that January should mark the new year.
Anyone who did not acknowledge the new year as January 1st was called an “April Fool” in the month of April. –Encyclopedia Britannica
I could keep taking this idea much farther but my original purpose was to answer if January was always New Years and the answer is no.What we have uncovered in the process has opened up a door for many to explore and I think some of the answers lie in the realms of ancient moon worship. I will touch more into this and other topics that branch from it in later articles.