January 4th is celebrated around the world as Trivia Day, a day when all Ken Jennings fans and lovers of random facts (myself included!) gather in the streets, get rip-roaringly wasted on super-caffeinated espressos, and share their love of useless knowledge. Okay, maybe it isn’t that grand and exciting, but hey, it’s still a holiday according to the Internet, and the Internet is always right!
Being that there is a wide, vast ocean of trivia out there and it would be hard to narrow this post down to a reasonable length without picking an actual subject, I thought I’d go with January, in a dual celebration of Trivia Day and National Write the Wrong Year on Your Check Month. Hey, I have a full editorial calender, I need to merge something somewhere. So enjoy these totally random trivia facts about January. Who knows, they could help you become the next Ken Jennings!
All about January: Trivia, Births, Events & More
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. This post was updated in 2018 with more January facts and trivia.
Random Trivia Facts About January
1. It’s named after the god of transitions
January was named after the Roman god Janus, who ruled over beginning and transitions. He’s a bit two-faced…literally. He’s often depicted as having two faces- one that looks forward and one that looks to the past. Kind of poetic, right?
2. January’s Birthstone
January’s birthstone is the beautiful red garnet. It is said that garnet represents balance, which is definitely something we all need after the crazy busy month of December.
3. Official flower of January
The Dianthus caryophyllus is one of two flowers recognizes as the official birth-month flower. It comes in many beautiful colors, and is the ancestor to the Carnation. In fact, most people just call it a Carnation now. Fancier Latin names are always prettier, though!
4. It’s Donate Blood Month!
While donating blood is important every month, January has the pleasure of being National Donate Blood month, so get out to your nearest Red Cross donation site and give the gift of life.
5. January is the coldest month!
Although global warming and climate changes may have bumped it out of first place in recent years, if you look at the average temperatures over all the years on record, January is considered the coldest month in the Northern hemisphere. Not in the southern, though, where Australians are currently wearing bikinis and taking their family photos on the beach.
FYI, I am aware that the pic above is NOT from January. 😀 I needed a snowy pic and apparently I didn’t take any during January storms.
Ten Famous People (that I’ve actually heard of) Born in January
- Danica McKellar (Winnie from The Wonder Years).
- Michael Stipe
- Nicolas Cage
- Katie Couric
- Frank Sinatra
- Patrick Dempsey
- Orlando Bloom
- LL Cool J
- Michelle Obama
- David Lynch
Ten Historical Figures Born in January
- Paul Revere, 1735
- Betsy Ross, 1752
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1882
- President William McKinley, 1843
- Edgar Allen Poe, 1809
- James Madison Randolph, first child born in the White House, 1806
- Martin Luther King Jr. , 1929
- President Richard M. Nixon, 1913
- President Milliard Fillmore (who?), 1800
- First Lady Helen Taft, 1861
Major Historical Events in January
- 45 BC- Julian Calender takes effect
- 1547- Henry VIII died.
- 1789- First US Presidential Election held.
- 1848- Gold was discovered in California. Eureka! Thar’s gold in them thar hills!
- 1863- Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation.
- 1865- The 13th Amendment abolished slavery.
- 1912- New Mexico becomes part of the United States
- 1914- Henry Ford introduces his assembly line.
- 1933- The Holocaust began.
- 1959- Alaska entered the Union.
- 1967- First Super Bowl held. Should also count as the first preempting of shows I actually like to watch by a sport that should be contained to one of the 2,000 sports-only channels now offered by cable television.
- 1973- The Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade Decision.
- 1986- The Challenger exploded. I remember this one, I was in 6th grade at the time!
Offbeat Holidays in January
Like most months, January has some pretty offbeat holidays. Check out 10 of my favorites!
- Polar Bear Plunge Day (1st)- a day when crazy people jump into frigid cold water just so they can say they did.
- J.R.R Tolkien Day (3rd) – celebrate the brilliant author behind the Lord of the Rings.
- Earth’s Rotation Day (8th)- because, you know, it’s pretty important to have a planet that rotates.
- National Static Electricity Day (9th) – for all of you who love rubbing balloons against your head and sticking them to things!
- Kiss a Ginger Day (12th)- grab your favorite red head and give them a smooch!
- Dress Up Your Pet Day (14th)- see my girl Maia above for inspiration!
- Appreciate a Dragon Day (16th)- Personally, I think we should appreciate dragons every day!
- Thesaurus Day (18th)- A brilliant holiday for word lovers! A radiant festival for logophiles! (If you see what I did there, this holiday is for you)
- Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day (22nd) – I don’t even know where to begin.
- Rubber Ducky Day (28th)- Rubber Ducky, you’re the one!
7 Actually Important Holidays in January
Of course, along with the silly, January also has a lot of really important holidays that we should observe. Like these 7! FYI, if you’re here just for the fun trivia, you may want to skip this section. While I rarely share my political views (and don’t really come out and say it here) I think it’s pretty obvious which way I lean.
- Ellis Island Day (1st): This day is becoming increasingly more important to remember. Learn more about Ellis Island and the true meaning behind the Statue of Liberty here.
- War on Poverty Day (8th)- Over 45 million people in the US live at or below the poverty level. Many of those people go to bed hungry because they can’t afford food. Learn how you can help!
- National Human Trafficking Awareness Day (11th)- I think it’s disgusting that people are still being bought and sold in the 21st century.
- Martin Luther King Day (15th)– Also Humanitarian Day, so get out there and do some good!
- Religious Freedom Day (16th)– Important because no one should be told who or what they have to believe in.
- World Day of Migrants and Refugees (19th)- Ironically, Inauguration Day is the 20th.
- Holocaust Memorial Day (27th)- Let us hope that this very dark chapter of human history is never forgotten…and never repeated.
This is far from an exhaustive list. If you want more facts about historical events in January, or any other month, I used History Orb as a source for some of the trivia, and Brownielocks for the holidays. . Both sites are insanely thorough!