Joy to January, the greatest first month of the year

Carter Haydu
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With the holidays essentially over, one might think there is absolutely nothing left to anticipate in the winter remaining. Not true.

In fact, for all those celebrating Christmas on the Julian Calendar ("Z Rizdvom Khrystovym" to all), the holiday season doesn't even begin until Jan. 2, and it lasts until Jan. 19.

For the rest of us Gregorian-calendar types, there are still some 'holidays' towards which we might look forward with at least modest anticipation in the month of January.

Aside from Sunday, (New Year's Day) representing the first day in the year of our Lord, two thousand and twelve, other January days of interest include Sir John A. Macdonald Day on Jan. 11, Bubble Bath Day on Jan. 8 and Robbie Burns Day on Jan. 25.

For our friendly neighbours to the south, Martin Luther King Day is celebrated on the third Monday of each January, which in 2012 falls on Jan. 16 (one day after the civil rights activist's birthday on Jan. 15, 1929).

Other celebrities, past and present, celebrating birthdays in January include: Joan of Arc on Jan. 6 (turning 600 years old), Nicholas Cage (turning 48 on Jan. 7), Albert Schweitzer (turning 137 on Jan. 14) and former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney (turning 71 on Jan. 30).

Perhaps most important of all, Times-Herald editorial news patriarch and honourary "President of the Awesome Factory" Carter Haydu turns 33-years-old on Jan. 10. This prince among men shares a birthday with British singer-songwriter Rod Stewart (turning 67) former boxer and electric cooking grill legend George Foreman (turning 63) and, of course, fabled lover of the Russian queen Grigori Rasputin (turning 143).

Very, very, very, attractive American actress and disgruntled TV ex-spouse of Don Draper, January Jones, turns 34 on Jan. 5.

Any Moose Javians who share a birthday with Mad Men's Betty Draper know just how cold it can be in the Friendly City.

In fact, Environment Canada ( suggests -19.3 C is the average minimum temperature for Jan. 5 locally. The coldest temperature recorded on that day was -35.7 C in 1996.

The average temperatures aren't much better for the birthday of Miss Jones in her hometown of Sioux Falls, S.D. Interesting to note: while she was born in January, Jones was not named after the month, but rather January Wayne, a character in Jacqueline Susann's Once is Not Enough. Aren't names interesting?

According to the Internet, the month of January is named after Janus, who is the Roman god of the doorway. Apparently, the Romans originally only had a 304-day 10-month calendar starting in March and ending in December, with the remaining time being considered a 'monthless' period. However, eventually January and February were added in about 450 B.C. to bring the calendar in line with the lunar year.

January's birthstone is the garnet and its birth flower is dianthus caryophyllus. This month of Capricorn and Aquarius is undoubtedly a cold, dark and generally inhospitable one in the more northern parts of the northern hemisphere. However, for our Australian counterparts (who celebrate Australia Day on Jan. 26) this is their hottest month of the year.

For us Saskatchewan folk though, it's a good time to fulfill our new year's resolutions for at least a few days, then get back to the business of hibernating indoors until the wretched cold subsides, possibly cuddling on the couch and watching a little Mad Men on Netflix.


Carter Haydu can be reached at 691-1265.

Organizations: Environment Canada

Geographic location: U.S., Friendly, Sioux Falls, S.D. Interesting Saskatchewan

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