Amazing Fun Facts About January

There’s a lot of things to celebrate in January, including the New Year! Here are some facts about January that may surprise you.

When you think of the first month of the year, January, what do you usually imagine? Snowy weather? Ice skating? Football games? And let’s now forget about New Year’s Resolutions!

I hope you enjoy this post, and that it inspires you to start planning some fun celebrations for the New Year!

Origin & Historical Events of January

The origin & historical events of January.

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The word January comes from the Latin words Janus, meaning “god of gateways,” and dies, meaning “day.”

January’s name comes from the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and endings.

According to historians, January is believed to have been named after Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods.

The ancient Romans celebrated the beginning of each new year on January 1st, the same day as the modern western world.

The ancient Romans celebrated the ending of each year on December 31st, the same day as the modern western world, otherwise known as ‘New Year’s Eve!’

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According to Roman mythology, Jupiter is said to have created January in order to honor his mother, Juno.

Jupiter created January with the power of lightning to mark the start of a brand-new year.

January has a rich history of celebration and fun. From the ancient Egyptian festival of the New Year to the modern Chinese New Year, there are many things to celebrate in January.

Did you know that to celebrate the founding of Rome, Julius Caesar decreed that his birthday would be a new year’s celebration!

Per the History Place, other major historical events which took place in January include:

  • January 1, 1776 – During the American Revolution, George Washington unveiled the Grand Union Flag, the first national flag in America.
  • January 1, 1892 – Ellis Island in New York Harbor opened. Over 20 million new arrivals to America were processed until its closing in 1954.
  • January 4, 1790 – President George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address.
  • January 7, 1989 – Emperor Hirohito of Japan died after a long illness. He had ruled for 62 years and was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Akihito.
  • January 10, 1878 – An Amendment granting women the right to vote was introduced in Congress by Senator A.A. Sargent of California. The amendment didn’t pass until 1920, forty-two years later.
  • January 11, 1964 – The U.S. Surgeon General declared cigarettes may be hazardous to health, the first such official government report.
  • January 14-23, 1943 – President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met at Casablanca in Morocco to work on strategy during World War II. At the conclusion of the conference, Roosevelt and Churchill held a joint news conference at which Roosevelt surprisingly announced that peace would come “by the total elimination of German and Japanese war power. That means the unconditional surrender of Germany, Italy and Japan.”
  • January 16, 1991 – The war against Iraq began as Allied aircraft conducted a major raid against Iraqi air defenses. The air raid on Baghdad was broadcast live to a global audience by CNN correspondents as operation Desert Shield became Desert Storm.
  • January 20, 1945 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated to an unprecedented fourth term as president of the United States. He had served since 1933.
  • January 21, 1976 – The Concorde supersonic jet began passenger service with flights from London to Bahrain and Paris to Rio de Janeiro, cruising at twice the speed of sound (Mach 2) at an altitude up to 60,000 feet.
  • January 24, 1848 – The California gold rush began with the accidental discovery of the precious metal near Coloma during the construction of a Sutter’s sawmill. An announcement by President Polk later in the year caused a national sensation and resulted in a flood of “Forty-niners” seeking wealth.
  •  January 25, 1959 – An American Airlines Boeing 707 made the first scheduled transcontinental U.S. flight, traveling from California to New York.
  • January 27, 1967 – Three American astronauts were killed as a fire erupted inside Apollo 1 during a launch simulation test at Cape Kennedy, Florida.
  •  January 28, 1986 – The U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 74 seconds into its flight, killing seven persons, including Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who was to be the first ordinary citizen in space.
  •  January 29, 1919 – The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Prohibition Amendment) was ratified. For nearly 14 years, until December 5, 1933, the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages were illegal in the United States. The Amendment had the unexpected result of causing enormous growth of organized crime which provided bootleg liquor to thirsty Americans.
  • January 30, 1948 – Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi, India, by a religious fanatic. Gandhi had ended British rule in India through nonviolent resistance. “Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being,” he had stated in 1926.
  • January 31, 1943 – German troops surrendered at Stalingrad, marking the first big defeat of Hitler’s armies in World War II. During the Battle of Stalingrad, 160,000 Germans were killed and 90,000 taken prisoner, including the commander, Friedrich von Paulus, the first German field marshal ever to surrender. The captured Germans were forced to march to Siberia, with few ever returning to Germany.

New Beginnings and New Year Resolutions

January 1st is the day that we all start over and make new resolutions for the year ahead.

Is there anything more amazing than New Year’s Resolutions? The New Year’s resolution movement has been around since the 1800’s and continues to grow in popularity today.

So what exactly is the “New Year’s Resolution Movement?” It was started in 1887 by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the author of “The Power of Positive Thinking.” In fact, he was the one who coined the phrase “New Year’s resolutions” which eventually became the most widely known phrase about setting goals for the upcoming year.

And for some, every year, we wait until the last day of December before making New Year’s Resolutions. Why?

In order to avoid being influenced by all the hype that goes around New Year’s Eve.

But the fact of the matter is, we make New Year’s Resolutions every year. The only thing that changes is the date of the resolution, which is why we can’t escape from making them.

January Fun Facts & Trivia

Want to learn more about January’s fun facts and trivia? Then read on…

  • The heaviest snowfall in the world was recorded in Japan on January 12, 1999, when 647.7 inches of snow fell in one hour.
  • January is also known as the “Coldest Month” due to the fact that it is the coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The average temperature in January is 5.9 degrees Celsius, which is 0.4 degrees Celsius colder than February.
  • In Australia, which is in the Southern Hemisphere, January is the only month in which the sun never sets.
  • January is the only month that has the same sign for both the Sun and the Moon. This is why people born during this time of year are called “lunatics” or “lunatians.”
  • The Chinese believe that the first day of the year is the most important of the entire year, and they give thanks by eating noodles, playing chess, and having sex.
  • The January birthstone is garnet, which symbolizes love, faithfulness, and constancy.
  • January 15th is an annual holiday to honor American hero Martin Luther King Jr.
  • The carnation is the official flower for the month of January. The carnation is renowned for its delicate petals and long-lasting bouquet.
  • Capricorn and Aquarius are the two astrological zodiac signs that symbolize January. Capricorn is known to be obstinate and willful. On the other hand, Aquarian is more flexible with a “go with the flow” mentality. People born on the ‘cusp’ between January 17 and January 23 have characteristics of both Capricorn and Aquarius.
  • Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s stone sarcophagus was discovered on January 3, 1924.
  • First Immigrants landed on Ellis Island on January 1, 1892.

Designated Holidays in January

Per Holiday Insights, this is the most comprehensive list of all holidays in January including some you may not even know about!

January 1

National Hangover Day

New Year’s Day

January 2

International Stop Spam Day

Run up the Flagpole and See if Anyone Salutes Day

World Introvert Day

January 3

Festival of Sleep Day

Fruitcake Toss Day

Humiliation Day

January 4

National Spaghetti Day

Trivia Day

January 5 

National Bird Day

January 6

Bean Day

Cuddle Up Day

January 7

Old Rock Day

January 8

Bubble Bath Day

Feast of the Epiphany – Three Kings – date varies

Male Watcher’s Day

January 9

Play God Day

January 10

Bittersweet Chocolate Day

Houseplant Appreciation Day

Peculiar People Day

January 11

Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day

January 12

Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day

National Hot Tea Day

National Pharmacist Day

January 13

Blame Someone Else Day 

Friday the 13th

International Skeptics Day

Make Your Dream Come True Day

National Rubber Duckie Day  

January 14

Dress Up Your Pet Day

January 15

National Bagel Day

National Hat Day

January 16

Appreciate a Dragon Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday 

National Nothing Day

January 17

Ditch New Years Resolutions Day

Kid Inventors Day

January 18

Thesaurus Day

Winnie the Pooh Day – the Birthday of Winnie’s author A.A. Milne

January 19

National Popcorn Day

National Tin Can Day

January 20

National Buttercrunch Day

National Cheese Lover Day

Penguin Awareness Day

January 21

National Hugging Day

Squirrel Appreciation Day

January 22

Chinese New Years – date varies

National Blonde Brownie Day

January 23

National Pie Day

National Handwriting Day

Measure Your Feet Day

January 24

Beer Can Appreciation Day

Compliment Day

Global Belly Laugh Day

January 25

Opposite Day

January 26

Australia Day

Spouse’s Day

January 27

Chocolate Cake Day

Punch the Clock Day

January 28

Data Privacy Day

Fun at Work Day

National Kazoo Day

National Seed Swap Day 

January 29

Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day 

National Puzzle Day

National Cornchip Day

January 30

National Inane Answering Message Day

January 31

Backward Day

Famous People’s Birthdays in the Birth Month of January

If you’re lucky enough to be born in this celebratory first month of the year, January, what other famous person shares your special day?

Birthdays from January 1 through January 15:

January 1, 1735- Paul Revere, Revolutionary War.

January 1, 1752- Betsy Ross, designed first U.S.flag

January 1, 1895- J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Director

January 2, 1920- Isaac Asimov, Science Fiction Writer

January 3, 1892- J.R.R. Tolkien, Author of “Lord of the Rings”

January 3, 1956- Mel Gibson, actor, director

January 4, 1643 – Isaac Newton, Astronomer, Physicist, Mathematician

January 4, 1937- Dyan Cannon, Actress

January 5, 1946- Diane Keaton, Actress

January 6, 1412- Joan of Arc

January 7, 1800- Millard Filmore, 13th President, (1850-1853)

January 7, 1948- Kenny Loggins, Singer/Songwriter

January 7, 1964- Nicolas Cage, Oscar-winning Actor

January 8, 1935- Elvis Presley, King of Rock ‘n Roll

January 8, 1942 – Stephen Hawking, world renowned physicist and author.

January 9, 1913 – Richard M. Nixon, 37th President (1969-1974)

January 9, 1935- Bob Denver, TV Actor “Gilligan”

January 10, 1945- Rod Stewart, rock singer

January 10, 1949- Heavyweight boxing champion, and creator of the “George Foreman Grill”

January 11, 1952- Ben Crenshaw, golfing great

January 12, 1944- Joe Frazier, heavyweight boxing champion

January 12, 1964 – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of

January 13, 1919- Robert Stack, Actor”Elliot Ness” on Tv show “Untouchables”

January 14, 1741- Benedict Arnold, traitor in American Revolutionary War.

January 14, 1919- Andy Rooney, author and commentator on “60 Minutes”

January 15, 1906 Aristotle Onassis, Greek Shipping tycoon, married Jackie Bouvier-Kennedy

January 15th, 1929- Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights Activist

Birthdays from January 16 through January 31:

January 16, 1935- A.J. Foyt, race car driver

January 17, 1706- Benjamin Franklin, inventor, statesman, writer

January 17, 1899- Al Capone, notorious 1920’s gangster

January 17, 1942- Mohammad Ali, formerly “Casius Clay”, arguably the best ever heavyweight boxing champion

January 18, 1779- Peter Roget, author of Roget’s Thesaurus

January 18, 1904- Cary Grant, Actor

January 19, 1807- Robert E. Lee, Civil War Confederate Army General

January 19, 1809- Edgar Allen Poe, Author and Poet, most notably macabre and horror stories

January 20, 1896- George Burns, comedian

January 20, 1920 Deforrest Kelley, Doctor McCoy on Tv’s original “Star Trek”

January 20,1930- Edwin “Buzz Aldrin, Astronaut, walked on the moon

January 21, 1738- Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War Hero

January 21, 1976- “Baby Spice” of The Spice Girls

January 22, 1934- Bill Bixby, the “Incredible Hulk” Star

January 22, 1949- John Belushi, comedian, actor, SNL and Blues Brothers

January 23, 1737- John Hancock, politician, first to sign the Declaration of Independence.

January 24, 1917- Ernest Borgnine, Actor, most notably TV’s “McHales’ Navy”

January 24, 1968- Mary Lou Retton, won gold medal in Gymnastics, at 1984 Olympics

January 25, 1931- Dean Jones, actor, “The Love Bug”

January 25, 1981- Alicia Keys, singer, Grammy winner

January 26, 1880- Douglas MaCarthur, WWII General, Quote: “I shall return!”

January 26, 1925- Paul Newman, Oscar winning actor

January 27, 1756- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the greatest musical composers ever

January 27, 1832- Lewis Carroll, wrote “Alice in Wonderland”

January 28, 1936- Alan Alda, Hawkeye Pierce in TV series “M*A*S*H”

January 29, 1843 – William McKinley, 25th U.S. President(1897-1901), assassinated while in office.

January 29, 1880- W. C. Fields, comedian, actor

January 29, 1954- Oprah Winfrey, talk show hostess

January 30, 1882 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President, elected to four terms (1933-1945)

January 30, 1922- Dick Martin, comedian

January 31, 1919- Jackie Robinson, first Afro-American to to play in Major League Baseball

January 31, 1923- Carol Channing, actress, “Hello Dolly”

January 31, 1947- Nolan Ryan, MLB pitcher for 27 years

10 Quotes About the Fun Facts About January

Let me present my favorite 10 quotes about the fabulous month of January:

“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter waiting to be written.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach

“I’m not the biggest fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I’m a huge backer for real life change – that’s why January gets me so geeked up.”

Mark Schlereth

“I like starting projects in January. That’s the best time to start something. It’s so inward.”

Carolyn Chute

“New year—a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.”

Alex Morritt

“Welcome January: January is a time of quiet and new beginnings – is the perfect time to reflect on how you want to live your life. January is the perfect time to refocus on your priorities and set goals.”


“January looks forward to the new year and back to the old year. He sees past and future.”

M.L. Stedman

“I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I think if you want to change something, change it today and don’t wait until the New Year.”

Georgia Bloomfield

“Through the chill of December the early winter moans but it’s that January wind that rattles old bones.”

John Facenda

“January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow.”

Sara Glowfield

“You can’t get too much winter in the winter.”

Robert Frost 

Final Last Words About January Facts

In this blog we discovered many facts you may have not known about January. We learned about January births, random facts, the state flower being the carnation and snowdrop, January quotes, and ringing in the new year.

Now that January has come and gone, it’s time for you to start your own new personal beginnings and have the best year ever!

Amazing Fun Facts About January

About the author

beth elkassih

“Hi! Welcome to the launching and introduction to ‘Made You Smile Back’! I’m so pleased you’re here. Let me share with you a little bit about myself and why I created this platform.”

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