January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after the Latin word for door (ianua), since January is the door to the year and an opening to new beginnings. The month is conventionally thought of as being named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology, but according to ancient Roman farmers' almanacs Juno was the tutelary deity of the month.
Traditionally, the original Roman calendar consisted of 10 months totaling 304 days, winter being considered a month-less period. Around 713 BC, the semi-mythical successor of Romulus, King Numa Pompilius, is supposed to have added the months of January and February, so that the calendar covered a standard lunar year (354 days). Although March was originally the first month in the old Roman calendar, January became the first month of the calendar year either under Numa or under the Decemvirs about 450 BC (Roman writers differ). In contrast, each specific calendar year was identified by the names of the two consuls, who entered office on May 1 or March 15 until 153 BC, from when they entered office on January 1.
Various Christian feast dates were used for the New Year in Europe during the Middle Ages, including March 25 (Feast of the Annunciation) and December 25. However, medieval calendars were still displayed in the Roman fashion with twelve columns from January to December. Beginning in the 16th century, European countries began officially making January 1 the start of the New Year once again—sometimes called Circumcision Style because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, being the seventh day after December 25.
Historical names for January include its original Roman designation, Ianuarius, the Saxon term Wulf-monath (meaning "wolf month") and Charlemagne's designation Wintarmanoth ("winter / cold month"). In Slovene, it is traditionally called január. The name, associated with millet bread and the act of asking for something, was first written in 1466 in the Škofja Loka manuscript.
According to Theodor Mommsen, 1 January became the first day of the year in 600 AUC of the Roman calendar (153 BC), due to disasters in the Lusitanian War. A Lusitanian chief called Punicus invaded the Roman territory, defeated two Roman governors, and killed their troops. The Romans resolved to send a consul to Hispania, and in order to accelerate the dispatch of aid, "they even made the new consuls enter into office two months and a half before the legal time" (March 15).—Wikipedia
Angela Daidone, our testing coordinator, advises that she will resume the testing of candidates in January.
Mid-Hudson Mensa continues to encourage us to participate in their events. They have an events page at http://tinyurl.com/MHMEVENTS
Central Jersey Mensa continues to invite us to join them in beer tasting. Email Jason Weiss, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more details.
Central Jersey Mensa has started a whiskey tasting circle:
"Hello whisk(e)y drinking Mensans! Come join the NJ Whiskey Circle for our second event on Saturday, February 17th from 2-6pm. For round two, we'll be drinking a variety of Scotch, including Auchentoshan Three Wood, a whisky from the Highland region, and finishing with The Glenlivet 18. Afterwards we'll discuss our favorites over pizza and another dram (or three) before heading home. The cost is $60, which includes whisky and food. This event requires a minimum of eight attendees, please RSVP and pay no later than Tuesday, February 13th. Contact me [Jason Weiss] at email@example.com or 937-238-2651 for details and directions. You can send money to paypal.me/NJWhiskeyCircle, or find me at the CNJ Monthly Gathering. See you there! - Jason Weiss"
Some members have expressed a renewed interest in our scholarship program. If you can, please contribute to help support our program. The Wendy Sailer Scholarship is an award given annually by Northern New Jersey Mensa (NNJM) based on an essay contest. It is funded by contributions from members of NNJM and is given in memory of Wendy Sailer who was very active in NNJM. (Yes, the scholarship still needs contributions. If you can, please mail a check made out to Northern New Jersey Mensa, to our Treasurer, William Holzmann, 163 Morningside Road, Paramus NJ 07652.)
In 1995, a great friend and supporter of NNJM, Irwin Arnold Meit, a neo-natal nurse, passed away at the age of 54. Contributions were made by members and his friends, and the Irwin A. Meit Memorial Scholarship was begun in 1996 for an adult who is studying for a career change. Unfortunately, this scholarship ran out of funding (about 2010) and has not been awarded since. We would be happy to re-institute this scholarship if adequate funding could be provided. Please consider making a contribution.
Activities for our gifted youth: Stephanie Janssens is on temporary leave as Gifted Youth Coordinator but you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. NNJM’s young Mensan Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/groups/NNJMensanYouth/