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"They say that the year is old and gray,

That his eyes are dim with sorrow;

But what care we, though he pass away?

For the New Year comes tomorrow.

No sighs have we for the roses fled,

No tears for the vanished summer;

Fresh flowers will spring where the old are dead,

To welcome the glad new-comer.

Then sing, young hearts that are full of cheer,

With never a thought of sorrow;

The old goes out, but the glad young year

Comes merrily in tomorrow." -- Emily H. Miller

The Romans called this month "Januarius," after the god, Janus. Janus had two faces, one on each side of his head. The face in back looked backward to the past; the face in front looked forward to the year yet-to-be. Originally, the Roman Year began with March and had 10 months. Numa Pompilius added January and February to the calendar year. And by 251 B.C. January had been accepted as the first month of the year. Most of Europe did not accept the calendar change. People here continued to call this month "wulfmonath" or Wolf Month. The full moon in January is called the Wolf Moon. March 25 marked the beginning of the ancient Jewish year. Both Jews and Christians observed March 25, the beginning of the New Year as a legal holiday.

January is notable for its variety of special days, enough to put one in a daze!

NEW YEAR'S DAY -- Jan. 1 -- Another year! A new day! We resolve to be a new and better person! We have a second chance, by new year.

TWELFTH NIGHT EVE -- Jan. 5 -- The Twelve Days of Christmas are over. Hopefully, the "Christmas Spirit" will continue to be present in us!

EPIPHANY -- Jan. 6 -- The Season of the Christian Year that runs from Jan. 6 until Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Epiphany celebrates the opening of God's Kingdom to the Gentiles (anyone who is not Jewish).

ST. DISTAFF'S DAY -- Jan. 7 -- Sorry to say, there is no "Saint Distaff." A "distaff" is a staff or pole, used in spinning. Jan. 7 was jokingly called St. Distaff's Day, because now that the Twelve Days of Christmas were past, the women must go back to work, go back to their spinning, back to their "distaffs."

PLOW MONDAY -- First Monday in Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas holidays, time for all to get back to work, to the plowing.

ST. HILARY'S DAY -- Jan. 14 -- Traditionally this is the coldest day of the year.

ST. PAUL'S DAY -- Jan. 25 -- Celebrates the conversion of Paul, the great Christian leader and missionary.

JANUARY is a time to celebrate the variety of days, a time to appreciate both the serious and the not-so-serious in life. January offers us the opportunity, by God's grace and power, to live life fully as God meant it to be lived! Fill the days with life; don't go around in a daze!

Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 01/09/2020

Print Headline: January Daze

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